This reminded me so much of Stephen King's IT at times it was almost like playing 'IT Bingo' (patent pending😂).
Outsider kid saves fat kid from beating by bully and henchmen - check
Fat kid introduces Outsider to his coloured friend, also meets 'love internet's - check
Form a gang and hang out together in the woods - check
Gang are bullied - check
Gang have a run in with a supernatural seeming dude, The Collector - check...
I could go on but I'm sure you get my drift. That is not to say I didn't enjoy the book, I really did and I guess that's because it is so well-written. Indeed, the first half of the story, before things kick off is one of the best 'coming of age' pieces I've read in a long while.
After that though, it all gets very busy indeed. The gang find an abandoned car in the woods, in the front, $10 million, in the trunk/boot a dead body.
They hide the money until they can decide what to do with it and at this point The Collector turns up in his long coat and fedora giving them a deadline. "Get me my money or else".
Throw in an out of town gangster, his henchman and a token bent sheriff and things really do not go well for the kids.
A steady start that really rattles up the gears in the second half.
I'm just wondering if the author will resist the temptation to reunite The Outsiders 27 years later to face down The Collector one final time? I hope not, this story deserves to be left where it is, the characters have been through enough in this one long summer