Litercurious Book Review
|Title||The Crooked Door|
|Authors||Brad McLelland & Louis Sylvester|
|Publisher||Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) (April 11, 2023)|
|Genre||Children’s Spine-Chilling Horror / |
Children’s Action & Adventure Books (Books)
|ISBN 10/13||1250124387 / 978-1250124388|
Brad McLelland was born and raised in Arkansas and spent several years working as a crime journalist in the South. In 2011, he obtained his MFA in creative writing from Oklahoma State University, where he met his writing partner, Louis. A part-time drummer and singer, Brad lives in Oklahoma with his wife, his stepdaughter, a mini Aussie who gives hugs, and a chubby cat who begs for ham. He is also the co-author of the Legends of the Lost Causes series.
Louis Sylvester is a professor at Lewis-Clark State College in Lewiston, Idaho. He and his wife spend their free time playing tabletop games from his collection of over a thousand card and board games. Louis enjoys watching Western films and reading fantasy novels. He has two dogs that go wild when they hear the word treats. He is also the co-author of the Legends of the Lost Causes series.
Excerpt taken from The Crooked Door.
Thirteen year old Ginny and her family are moving to a new state and a new town. They are forced to take a detour off the main highway when their troubles begin. Bernard, their crusty old pick-up truck, breaks down just outside of picturesque Pottsville. It is a story book town; clean, no traffic, happy people, with kids playing and riding their bikes in the streets.
While the local mechanic takes a look at Bernard, Ginny is taken away by some of the local kids for a tour of the town. Toy stores, ice cream shops, and bike shops are everywhere but there is something disturbing about the town. The lack of cars on the streets, the aged dress of the locals and the distant looks on their faces give Ginny a bad vibe. When the kids take her into the Town Hall basement, she really gets spooked. There, in the middle of the floor is a crooked door. She’s told to knock twice, donate some blood and the thing most dear to her and she will receive a wish. Her wish comes true but what is the price?
After Ginny gets back to the hotel, things really get spooky. The town at night transforms into something twisted with demonic creatures roaming the streets. Her parents are no where to be found, and Ginny is frantic. She learns that picturesque Pottsville is really a dimensional realm for twisted fairies and creatures of the night. The creatures demand sacrifice and Ginny’s parents are next on the menu. No one can escape Pottsville; everyone that tries to leave always end up back where they started.
Will Ginny find her parents in time? Can they escape Pottsville? Can she avoid the creatures of the night and the ghouls that are tracking her? Can she save her family and the kids of Pottsville?
The Crooked Door is a slow starter; about half-way the book took off and I couldn’t put it down once things got going. Reminiscent of Stephen King, it has just the right creepy feel to it. As I read the book, it reminded me of the Twilight Zone episode “It’s a Good Life,” featuring Bill Mumy. It also has a “Children of the Corn” vibe throughout the story, and it even takes a little from “The Lottery,” by Shirley Jackson. A really good combination of horror and creepy.
Although the first half of the book was slow and the story and characters weren’t fully developed, the second half more than made up for it. In the second half the characters really come to life and the suspense is palatable. You can feel the fear and anxiety in the prose. The authors take the reader on a fantastic but scary journey filled with suspense and excitement. The horror seen through a young desperate girls eyes trying to save her family and escape demonic beings is an intense and adrenalin fueled journey.
Suitable for all ages, I highly recommend sticking with the book once you start it. You will not be disappointed. I really enjoyed The Crooked Door.