Monday, June 11, 2012

The Legend of the Pumpkin Thief (Noble Publishing), by Charles Day

“One missing pumpkin certainly did not qualify as a visit from the Pumpkin Thief. But it was kind of cool, getting all worked up the night before the holiday, a special holiday devoted to celebrating evil and dead things.”

Nick seems like a pretty typical seventeen-year-old. He has a lot of trouble with the girls at school, just as much trouble with the bullies, and an annoying younger sister. He also has a fascination with mystery stories and hopes to some day become a detective. It’s his detective-like curiosity that leads Nick to do a little investigation of a local legend called the Pumpkin Thief. It all starts when the jack-o-lantern that Nick’s family had sitting on the porch steps disappears. Nick finds a paper written by a former student at his school and reads about a supposed creature that steals pumpkins throughout an entire neighborhood in order to really mess around with things and invite evil into the town. According to the legend, nobody knows where the Pumpkin Thief will strike, though the time is always around Halloween...

Nick doesn’t quite believe everything he reads at first. He has enough to worry about between all of the issues at school and outside of school. Lou, Nick’s archenemy, never seems to want to leave the kid alone, and he is completely outmatched in a fight. But when the Pumpkin Thief actually appears in the town these kids live in, there’s no better equalizer than fear.

The Legend of the Pumpkin Thief is a horror book that is written very well for its intended audience in the Young Adult crowd. One of its biggest strengths is surely the verisimilitude of high school life. It’s great that the book actually doesn’t get too bogged down in the buildup to the spooky climactic scenes; everything about Nick’s life has a chance to be fleshed out. Charles Day’s tale is just as much about being a seventeen-year-old kid with dreams as it is about horrifying creatures intent on the destruction of mankind, and that is what really makes the book in the end. The Pumpkin Thief himself is at first a complete mystery, but when he reveals himself his impact is felt in many ways. He really is a threat to the kids and everyone else in Nick’s town and they have to work together to get rid of the evil spirit.

This is a book that is a quick and enjoyable read for adults but might be just a little more entertaining for an audience that skews on the young side. Get it as a gift for the teenager who likes mysteries or a little Halloween spook.

visit the author's blog or buy the book here.

Review by Christopher Larochelle

Christopher Larochelle is buried under a huge pile of comics. At least that's his excuse for not updating his blog (where he used to write about them from time to time): Visit it and encourage him to get back to updating.

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