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The Smoky Corridor
A Haunted Places Mystery, Book 3
Chris Grabenstein

Random House Books for Young Readers
August 24, 2010 / ISBN 037586511X
Children Ages 9-12 / Horror

Reviewed by Jan Fields

In this third book of the Haunted Places series, Zach Jennings is still seeing ghosts and still wishes he didn't. He enters sixth grade at his new school, hoping for a quieter year. Unfortunately, his school comes with an evil ghost with black magic powers and a hungry zombie who lives under the school in a maze of tunnels. Then guardian ghosts pop up for every student because they sense that things are about to get much, much worse. I like how Zach has grown through the three books. He's a quiet kid who just wants to get along, but he's nobody's victim. When bullies take one look at his short status and glasses and assume he's easy pickings, they quickly learn that Zach doesn't back down. This book is more of a mystery than the previous two and thus has less of a "horror" vibe about it. It's decidedly less scary than the first two books in the series, but is filled with twists and turns in the plot that don't allow you a second of boredom. Also, unlike a lot of series books, a reader could pick up The Smoky Corridor and not be at all confused. It works completely as a stand-alone book as well. Because I like chills, this is probably my least favorite of the three books, but Grabenstein does such a fantastic job as a storyteller that the story truly does keep you locked in from beginning to end.

Reviewer's Note:

Reviewed 2011
© 2011