By Jan Pease
Some of these new books are scary, some are creepy, and one is downright crawly.
“Shutter” is a paranormal story with an unusual twist. Michelin is a descendant of the line of Van Helsing, who is famous in books and movies as a vampire hunter. She can see the auras of the undead, and kills their physical forms with a bullet, but their spiritual essence is taken care of by her special camera. “A paranormal ghost-hunting story that is a standout in the genre . . . Frightening from the first page, this is sure to please horror fans, particularly those familiar with ghost and vampire legends (School Library Journal). The “Ghost Busters” had a special vacuum cleaner, and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” used all kinds of martial arts moves and weapons, but a special camera that freezes spirits is a new one.
Violence and fear often go together. “Thirteen,” by Tom Hoyle, is a book filled with both, and it’s a little too gruesome for me. From School Library Journal: “Grade 7 Up - In this dark thriller by a first-time British author, a sadistic self-appointed messiah leads his brainwashed cult in murdering boys born on New Year's Day of 2000. Now 2013, only a few remain, including protagonist Adam, who runs, fights, and kills for his life, aided by his love interest and neighbor, Megan.”
If you loved “Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West,” try the “Dorothy Must Die” series. Danielle Paige’s biography on Epic Reads states, “Danielle Paige is a graduate of Columbia University and currently lives in New York City. Before turning to young adult literature, she worked in the television industry, where she received a Writers Guild of America Award and was nominated for several Daytime Emmys.
“Dorothy Must Die” is her first novel.” The prequels to "Dorothy Must Die" were digital novellas, “The Witch Must Burn,” “The Wizard Returns,” and “No Place Like Oz,” each available for Nook or Kindle. Now all of the novellas have been published in one volume, “The Dorothy Must Die Stories.” The first full-length book in the series is “Dorothy Must Die,” The other book in the series is “The Wicked Will Rise.” The story is told from the point of view of the other inhabitants of Oz. Dorothy is one of the villains, and the familiar characters are not at all what we’re used to.
This one is creepy crawly. “The Spider Ring,” by Andrew Harwell, is a book for readers in grades 3-7. This book might make you think there’s something crawling on your neck. This is the story of Maria, whose grandmother gave her the special ring that she always wore, a spider ring. When Maria puts the ring on, she discovers she can understand and command spiders. Of course, the first things she does are selfish and childish, but then she meets the really bad spider, a woman named the Black Widow. “The Spider Ring” is a fun, slightly scary read. My advice is, “Don’t read these alone in the dark!”