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Publisher's Summary

Zack, his dad, and new stepmother have just moved back to his father's hometown, not knowing that their new house has a dark history. Fifty years ago, a crazed killer caused an accident at the nearby crossroads that took 40 innocent lives. He died when his car hit a tree in a fiery crash, and his malevolent spirit has inhabited the tree ever since. During a huge storm, lightning hits the tree, releasing the spirit, who decides his evil spree isn't over...and Zack is directly in his sights.

Award-winning thriller author Chris Grabenstein fills his first book for younger listeners with the same humorous and spine-tingling storytelling that has made him a fast favorite with adults.

©2008 Chris Grabenstein; (P)2008 Random House, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"An absorbing psychological thriller...as well as a rip-roaring ghost story." (Booklist)
"J.J. Myers brings these ghostly characters to life with spine-tingling effect. Her dramatic tone and pitch steer listeners through trips to the graveyard and death-defying rescues. Myers makes Zack an appealing personality with a voice that brings old-fashioned tales to mind. She succeeds equally well with female voices, especially that of crotchety Miss Spratling, who cackles unnervingly. Arguably the best voice - throaty and menacing - is that of Clint Eberhart, the ghost who starts it all. Myers continues the satisfying oral tradition of ghost stories with this fun, creepy selection."(AudioFile)
"Myers ably straddles the line between satisfying safe chills and sleeplessness by keeping her tones light while imbuing the malevolent characters with a touch of evil. Younger listeners will identify with the youthful characterization of 11-year-old Zack, while older kids will appreciate the fast pace, which heightens creepy suspense as two boys unravel the mystery of a 50-year-old crime that occurred at the crossroads behind Zack's Connecticut home. This fine production retains the atmosphere of a classic campfire ghost tale and is a surefire bet to satisfy repeated requests for 'something scary." (Booklist)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
  • JohnB
  • WILLIAMSBURG, VA, United States
  • 02-15-09

Great story for listeners of all ages!

This is the first children's book by Grabenstein, the award-winning author of the excellent "John Ceepak" mysteries (they're on audible.com and I recommend you begin with the first: TILT-A-WHIRL!). I'll bet if you download this one for your kids the whole family will end up listening to it -- it's a fun ghost story that will keep you wondering what's next.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Great Story, Wonderful Narrator!

A librarian friend told me this audiobook had won an award, so I got it for some long family drives over the Holidays. It was a big hit! My kids (boy 9 & girl 11) loved it, but my husband & I did too! It's a wonderful story and this narrator really brought the characters to life! I just bought the sequel (THE HANGING HILL) by the same author/narrator team. We all agreed not to wait for our next long drive -- we want to hear it right away!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Great listen, spooky story

I listened to the audiobook to screen this for our children ages 11 and 13. Started reading the book to them last night. They love it! Fun story, spooky but not too scary. Plenty of action. Well performed.
We loved all of the Cepac stories. Thought this would be worth a shot. Glad we picked it.
Thanks Chris :-)

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  • Performance
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Cute, Great story, slightly dark for elementary age

Really enjoyed this book. The narration was great and really pulls you into the story. It had a fun meandering feel to it but once pieces of the mystery starts clicking together it was very hard to pause or put it down.

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Loved it!

I enjoyed it so much I listened to it in one sitting and I am an adult.

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Creepy

Too creepy for elementary... Middle school and up? Main character has too much to deal with...death, mother who verbally abuses him, mother who dies from cancer, new step mother, dad who travels. Liked the paranormal aspects, but for a young kid to deal with them was not too realistic. Thought it was an interesting story, but thought the main character and reading audience would be older and more able to understand more of the pot components.

  • Overall

The ONLY audiobook I couldn't finish

I know this is a book for children, and some children love it. A seventh grade student of mine had recommended it to me. The characters are one dimensional - they are either good or evil. No in-between. The plot is simplistic (I know, I know - good for younger readers.) There is a lot of repetition of facts and stating the obvious. Truly, I think our young readers are smarter than this author gives them credit for.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful