cover image Nightmare Hour: Time for Terror

Nightmare Hour: Time for Terror

R. L. Stine. HarperCollins Publishers, $16.99 (160pp) ISBN 978-0-06-028688-0

Among the scariest of elements in this collection is the full-spread black-and-white artwork, contributed by an array of different artists, that sets the stage for each of the 10 stories. For a taut, harrowing tale of mistaken identity set in the children's ward of a hospital on Halloween night, ""I'm Not Martin,"" Clay Patrick McBride creates a photocollage of a ward with an oversize, eyeless doll's head, holding an IV bottle on a pole in one hand and a human foot in the other, as a boy peers through a curtained screen. The impressive roster of illustrators also includes Edward Koren, Gary Kelley and Mark Summers. The author offers additional eerie lead-ins to the tales with his brief introductions, in which he describes alleged incidents that prompted his plots. For instance, the setting for ""Nightmare Inn""--starring a girl who encounters a pair of werewolves in the run-down establishment her mother plans to purchase--was inspired by Stine's stay in a sprawling New England inn in which he was the only guest. The author's many fans will surely look over their shoulders once or twice while engrossed in these pages. And they will be pleased to discover the low price of this handsomely designed hardcover. Ages 8-up. (Oct.)