The books that pretty much introduced me to reading — and to creepy tales of Screaming Clocks, Whispering Mummies, Haunted Mirrors, and all the delicious trappings of horror — were the Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators novels by Robert Arthur. Man, they were great. Three resourceful teens with a chauffeur who drove them around, and a secret hideout in an old junkyard… who could resist? I was sold after my very first one, The Mystery of the Green Ghost.
I’ve had a spot spot for middle grade horror-thrillers ever since. So I was very pleased to stumble upon bestselling author Chis Grabenstein’s Haunted Mystery series showcasing the intrepid Zack, a sixth grader with the uncanny ability to talk to ghosts, and his stepmother Judy, who writes children’s books. The series features a malevolent spirit inhabiting a tree, a horde of evil specters, a ruthless hit man hunting lost treasure, a voodoo savvy ghost seeking a new body, a soul-sucking zombie in the basement, and a ghost clan out to ruin Halloween. I wish these had been around when I was in the sixth grade…. but I’m still happy to have them now.
The novels are:
The Crossroads (336 pages, $16.99 in hardcover/$6.99 digital, May 27, 2008)
The Hanging Hill (336 pages, $16.99 in hardcover/$6.99 digital, August 24, 2010)
The Smoky Corridor (336 pages, $16.99 in hardcover/$6.99 digital, August 9, 2011)
The Black Heart Crypt (336 pages, $16.99 in hardcover/$6.99 digital, August 28, 2012)
All four books are published in hardcover and paperback editions by Random House/Yearling.
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