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Reviews from 7—11 years

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By Tom Becker Author

Tom Becker, author of the Darkside series, reviews a selection of spooky books— not for the faint hearted…

Black Book of Secrets

The Black Book of Secrets by F E Higgins (Macmillan, £5.99 HB)

On the run from a brutal tooth surgeon, urchin, Ludlow Fitch, seeks shelter in the small village of Pagus Parvus. Here, he encounters Joe Zabbidou – a mysterious pawnbroker who invites the inhabitants of Pagus Parvus to trade their secrets for money. To Ludlow’s amazement, one by one people come forth to unburden themselves – shameful midnight confessions of theft, murder and bodysnatching, all recorded in ‘The Black Book of Secrets’. However, the ease of mind Joe grants his clients invites a confrontation with Jeremiah Ratchet, the vicious landowner whose malign influence has Pagus Parvus on its knees… This is an enthralling book, cleverly constructed around a thoughtful and original premise. Despite a foundation of historical detail, Joe’s impassive character gives The Black Book of Secrets an other worldly, almost dreamlike, feel.

Something Wickedly Weird

Something Wickedly Weird: The Wooden Mile by Chris Mould (Hodder, £6.99 HB)

When Stanley Buggles hears of the death of his great-uncle, he is surprised to learn that he has been bequeathed Candlestick Hall, on the small island of Crampton Rock. Yet, no sooner does Stanley make the treacherous journey across the ‘Wooden Mile’, than he realises that all is not well in the little fishing village. All the dogs seem to have three legs, the owner of the sweetshop is strange to say the least, and a mean group of pirates are taking an unhealthy interest in Stanley. And why is everyone afraid to go out at night? A dark sea-shanty of a read, The Wooden Mile is filled with fantastic illustrations.

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