cover image Horseman: A Tale of Sleepy Hollow

Horseman: A Tale of Sleepy Hollow

Christina Henry. Berkley, $17 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-0-593-19978-7

The horror in this sequel to the classic Irving yarn from Henry (Near the Bone) isn’t particularly fresh—it’s a straightforward monster-in-the-woods scenario—but there’s still plenty to keep the pages turning. Twenty years after the events of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, 14-year-old trans boy Ben Van Brunt is raised by his grandparents, the rollicking Brom “Bones” Van Brunt and prim Kristina Van Tassel, in the small New York town, his parents long dead in mysterious circumstances. Skylarking in the autumn woods, Ben witnesses village men conferring over the headless, handless body of another local boy. Later, Ben’s sense of an eerie presence in his grandfather’s fields is confirmed when he spies a creature sucking blood from a second victim. This monstrous evil is not the Horseman—though Ben senses him, too, as a weird guardian with altogether different intentions. Uncovering those motivations, as well as his family history and why the evil haunts it, soon consumes every aspect of Ben’s existence. Occasional wobbles of worldbuilding—how are there residents Ben doesn’t know in a one-street village?—and the handling of Ben’s gender identity, combined with flip-the-switch character development, tarnish but do not ruin the experience. Readers won’t be wowed, but they will be entertained. Agent: Lucienne Diver, the Knight Agency. (Sept.)