Sunday, December 25, 2011

Deadtime Stories: Grave Secrets-Annette and Gina Cascone

Deadtime Stories: Grave Secrets

Annette and Gina Cascone

Starscape/Tor, Jan 3 2012, $14.99

ISBN: 9780765330659

Amanda Peterson hits the walk off homer, but neither she or her friends (Laura Baxter, Kevin Stewart and Jarrad Clark) celebrate as the ball lands inside 704 Shadow Lane owned by the creepy old witch ”Barnsey”. Her mates tell her to forget the ball that landed right near the shred where Barnsey tosses rat heads by reminding her what the witch did to Luzard and French. Amanda retrieves the ball but bony fingers grab her wrist while the tweener hysterically shouts at her friend to not let Barnsey take her into the dungeon. Barnsey lets go, but a frightened Amanda panics as she lost her friendship bracelet. The four tweeners fear Barnsey will use the bracelet to cast a spell on Amanda.

The friends search in Amanda’s yard, but find a dead squirrel. They decide to bury the deceased in Amanda’s pet cemetery where Ralphie the hamster, Herman the goldfish, and Snitch the canary reside. Jarrod digs a hole when they hear mama. He uncovers a buried doll with no voice box. Amanda learns from her parents the pet cemetery was land that once belonged to Barnsey. The quartet uncovered a malevolence that makes little old lady-witches seem benign as they fear for themselves and Amanda’s five year old naive sister Robin.

The first Deadtime Stories is a terrific tweener horror thriller starring four children whose imagination runs wild, but does not compare to the realism of what they face. While Amanda’s parents insist Mrs. Barnsey is a nice neighbor, the buddies believe she is a witch although Jarrod is a skeptic. Fans will enjoy this entertaining tale from Team Cascone as the Youngers find out what evil truly is.

Harriet Klausner

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