The Hanging Hill by Chris Grabenstein
The Haunted Mysteries, Book 2
Finished: Sep.2, 2009
First Published: Aug. 11, 2009
Genre: children, horror, ghost story
There's this thing about ghosts: Once you've seen one, you can basically see them all.
Reason for Reading: The sequel to The Crossroads. I received a review copy from Random House Canada. Qualifies for the RIP IV Challenge.
Comments: Zack and his step-mom, a famous children's book author, are spending the summer at the Hanging Hill Theatre where, for the first time, one of her books is being turned into a musical. The Theatre has been around for well near a century while both the building and the land have quite a chequered past. So it comes to no surprise to Zack when he starts to see the occasional ghost. But when the ghosts start talking of demons and Zack meets ghosts with bloody weapons who can affect things in this world he starts to take notice. Before long he's racing against time to save the life of a sacrificial child and several others taking part in the play.
This was fabulous! One exciting read that never stops from start to finish. So much better than its predecessor. I had some problems with The Crossroads and the author has not repeated those concerns making The Hanging Hill a phenomenal horror story for the middle grades. The story does have its bloody bits and some gruesome descriptions so I wouldn't recommend it for the squeamish but nothing is overboard and certainly acceptable for this age group in my (conservative) opinion.
The chapters are very short making it hard to put the book down. The characters are an eccentric lot making for a fun story while Zack and the other couple of main characters are down to earth, likable, characters with real dialogue. I'm recommending this for ages 10-14, though I rarely give an ending age, I feel that teens will find the characters young, even though no age is given this time around, the children are obviously middle graders, and anyone under ten I feel would find the horror parts a bit to much, unless they are used to that sort of thing.
A great read! I was hooked from the beginning and am hoping this is not just a sequel but will continue as a series. I'd love to follow Zack and Judy on another ghostly adventure!