99. The Crossroads by Chris Grabenstein

The Crossroads by Chris Grabenstein
The Haunted Mysteries, Book 1

Pages: 325
Finished: June 1, 2008
First Published: May 27, 2008
Genre: children, horror, ghost story
Rating: 3.5/5

Reason for Reading: Received a review copy from Random House Canada.

First sentence:

Have you ever seen a face hidden in the bark of a tree and known that the
man trapped inside wanted to hurt you?

Comments: Zack and his family move to a small rural town. On their property is a tree that Gerta Spratling has devoted as a memorial to the boyfriend who died in a crash between his car and a greyhound bus over fifty years ago. This is a very creepy, scary book. Gerta Spratling is the equivalent of an evil Miss Haversham and the spirit in the tree is evil incarnate intent on killing anyone who had anything to do with his death, right on down to the grandchildren. While most of the ghosts are creepy not all of them are bad, some even go out of their way to help Zack and his stepmother, Judy, such as the traveling salesman, a bus driver, three nuns and a group of children bound for Bible camp at the time of the crash.

This is a fast read. Short chapters propel the reading along. The ending was predictable to this reader but still the characters were a lot of fun, even the nasty ones. I enjoyed the book but the 11 year old protagonist felt too young for this mature story. I'd recommend this for the 10-12 year age range. Older teens will find the main character too childish and younger children will either find the book too scary or just won't relate to a very old lady and her dead boyfriend.


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