Savage trades the elemental magic of his Farworld series for an entertainingly gross blend of comedy and horror in the first book in his Case File 13 series. Sixth-grade best friends Nick, Carter, and Angelo live for Halloween, but that’s before Nick is transformed into a zombie during a trip to Louisiana for the funeral of his mysterious Great Aunt Lenore. Nick’s gradual decomposition, changing appetites, and diminishing command of his motor and verbal skills provide many opportunities for humor as the boys work to reverse the curse that’s afflicting Nick. An ominous, unidentified narrator introduces and closes the book, and chapters open with one-liners that tease and provoke (“Can you really have too many cemetery chapters in a scary story?”). This is mainly Nick’s tale, but the rapport between the boys is strong (and their rivals, a trio of Halloween-loving girls, seem likely to reappear). Savage incorporates elements of voodoo practice into the creepy mystery the boys unravel, which will keep readers’ interest even as they are laughing at gags involving everything from dog food to severed fingers. Ages 8–12. Agent: Michael Bourret, Dystel & Goderich Literary Management. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 11/26/2012 Release date: 12/01/2012 Genre: Children's
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