The Red Church was the first of Scott Nicholson's novels I ever read. It changed my whole--up to then rather negative--attitude toward the label "horror" or "thriller." But, perhaps, Nicholson is just a much better writer than other authors of the genre. He tells intriguing, mysterious, and suspenseful stories, which are all the more compelling because of their strong and psychologically complex characters, the vivid descriptions, and the sensitive rendering of human emotions.
Drummer Boy is another page turner (or "page clicker", if you have a Kindle reader.) It reminded me a little of The Red Church, not just because some of the characters (Sheriff Littlefield) reappear, but because it depicts the still fragile psyche of adolescent boys, their insecurities, their struggle with love and friendship, and their fear of "not belonging," in a society where you are either "in or "out," "straight" or "gay," "good" or "evil." Interestingly enough, the young boys are more willing and brave enough than the adults to be true to themselves, not matter what the sacrifice.
Having spent my school years abroad for the most part, I am not as intimately familiar with the American Civil War as people who grew up in this country. What came across to me personally from the story was the fact that for many people in the South, the Civil War was never truly resolved. And so, the shadows in the form of ghostly soldiers keep on haunting them. That's true of any war, whether here or abroad. What we're not willing to deal with, will come back to torment us in one form or the other.
There is of course a lot more to the book. Find out for yourself!