December 10th, 2009 by Karen
Last week, I mentioned that I volunteer regularly at a charity bookstore. But recently, I spent an afternoon helping out at a different bookstore devoted entirely to kids’ stuff. They asked me to join their team of children’s book experts and make recommendations to customers doing holiday gift shopping. I got a printed name tag and everything. It labeled me as a “specialist.” Very legit.
Throughout the day, I suggested various books and series, ranging from Diary of a Wimpy Kid to Allie Finkle’s Rules for Girls to The Invention of Hugo Cabret. But there was also plenty of time when my section of the store was empty.
So I decided to skim through City of the Dead, the first book in Tony Abbott’s series The Haunting of Derek Stone. I’ve been meaning to pick it up for a while because I heard good things from a friend of mine. But you know me — between an endless to-read list and my scaredy cat nature, I wasn’t inclined to run out and get the book right away.
And in a sense, that was the right decision. Because this series is freaky. And you know I don’t do well with spooky books! So of course I got the chills reading about how Derek and his family are involved in a horrible train accident and everyone thinks his brother, Ronny, is dead — only for Ronny to reappear soon after, acting really different, mumbling weird stuff, and asking questions about his own life.
Understandably, Derek wants to get to the bottom of things, so he does some investigating, and what he learns is that there’s a reason Ronny isn’t acting like himself — because he’s no longer Ronny! [insert dramatic music and lightning bolt here] Okay, I don’t want to say any more and spoil the story for you, but if you want a hint, just take a look at the title I gave to this post…
And in case you were wondering, once I started reading City of the Dead, I found it very hard to put it down and actually assist customers like I was supposed to. I mean, I did it — I’m no slacker! — but the whole time, I kept my place in the book with my finger and carried it with me as I guided customers around the store. I probably shouldn’t admit this, but I actually started to resent the customers for interrupting my reading time. But can you blame me? I wanted to learn the secret behind Ronny’s strange behavior just as much as Derek did. Wouldn’t you?
Or maybe you’ve already read the Derek Stone books? Leave a comment telling me your thoughts! But for the love of body-snatching ghosts, no spoilers please!