- The Wrong Train by Jeremy de Quidt
ISBN 978-1-338-12125-4 $18.99
Reviewed from galleys R Gr. 6–9
Somewhere between Goosebumps and H. P. Lovecraft lies the territory for middle-school supernatural horror, and de Quidt runs his rails right through it. Eight tales, which skew beyond eerie all the way to scary, are set into a framing story about a boy who misses his train home and bails onto an ill-lit platform with only the company of a garrulous old man and his dog. The oldster reels out his horror-laced [End Page 447] tales with obvious delight in the growing discomfort he’s causing the boy. It’d be difficult not to get creeped out when left alone with a stranger who carries on about a woman who drowns babies, a classic Cadillac that recreates a death ride for its new owners, a babysitter stuck with siblings who devour their minders, photographs that drive their subjects mad, a game of “Dead Molly” that summons a demoness and traps a player in a recurring nightmare. The individual yarns deliver the thrills, but the framing story is unnerving in its own right, growing steadily in menace as the night wears on and culminating in its own dark tragedy. Expect this to fly off the shelf at Halloween, or whenever only the creepiest campfire stories will do.