An evil presence lurks in the 200-year-old farmhouse that Jack moves into with his mother. Jack, who suffers from asthma, can communicate with ghosts (an ability he recognized after his father's death), and on his first day in the house, he senses that it harbors many secrets. Living in the house is a ghost Jack names Ghost Mother, as well as four ghost children of various ages. Readers will quickly figure out that the Ghost Mother is a menacing character who holds the ghost children prisoners. At first, Jack enjoys his conversations with Ghost Mother but then things take a disturbing turn. It seems that Ghost Mother wants to be Jack's mother (""I never had a son, you know, though I often wished for one of my own""). In her desperation, she enters Jack's mother's body. When Jack doesn't respond the way she'd hoped, Ghost Mother seeks revenge. A chain of events builds the suspense until Jack's near-death face-off with Ghost Mother. The alternating story in McNish's (The Silver Child) gruesome and chilling tale reveals what happened in the farmhouse 150 years before. Unfortunately, the happily-ever-after ending detracts from the overall creepiness of this intriguing and rather scary ghost story. Ages 10-up.