Life can get tough for a boy who kills ghosts.
Teeth-chattering suspense and suppressed chuckles might attack readers in this superior black comedy/adventure. Theseus Cassio Lowood has inherited his father's athame, a magical knife that can slice and dice ghosts to bits. He only kills ghosts who kill humans, but plenty of those lurk everywhere, forcing Cas and his white-witch mother to move constantly. When he answers a call to dispatch Anna, a ghost that's brutally dismembered dozens of ill-fated folks who stepped into her house, for the first time Cas makes some friends. These help him until one steals the athame, an unfortunate choice. Meanwhile, Cas learns that Anna won't kill him, so he enlists her aid in tracking down the voodoo spirit that literally ate his father. Blake populates the story with a nice mixture of personalities, including Anna, and spices it with plenty of gallows humor, all the while keeping the suspense pounding. The comedy works even better when juxtaposed against serious suspense, as Cas quips such lines as "I hate it when they don't have eyes." Matter-of-fact Anna leavens the comedy even as the suspense boils into terror. (Don't go in the basement.)
Abundantly original, marvelously inventive and enormous fun, this can stand alongside the best horror fiction out there. We demand sequels. (Paranormal adventure. 12 & up)Copyright Kirkus 2011 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.
Effectively blending horror and romance, Blake (Sleepwalk Society) delivers an exciting and witty gothic ghost story. Seventeen-year-old loner Cas follows in his late father's footsteps, hunting down vengeful ghosts and dispatching them before they can hurt more people. He and his mother (a witch) move from town to town, and his latest target is the titular Anna, a 16-year-old girl killed on the way to a dance in Thunder Bay, Ont., in 1958. When the ghost eviscerates a local in front of Cas, he realizes it will be a much harder struggle than previously anticipated, joining forces with psychic Thomas and popular girl Carmel to discover Anna's history and attempt to free her from her curse without destroying her. Blake occasionally gets too cute--naming a character "Will Rosenberg" in a story in which characters are aware of Buffy is pushing things, as is the notion that today's small-town teens are all Rules of Attraction. But the pop culture references are generally sharp (Ghostbusters references make for an effective running gag) and on point, and the result is an enjoyable horror tale. Ages 12-up. (Sept.)[Page ]. Copyright 2011 PWxyz LLC
Gr 10 Up--Theseus Cassio Lowood is a legacy ghost killer. He inherited his gift and his weapon, an athame, from his father, who was killed and devoured by a ghost when Cas was seven. The teen and his mother, a white witch, are constantly on the move following leads to unquiet spirits wreaking havoc on the innocent. After the killing with which the book opens, Cas and his mom head to Thunder Bay, Ontario, on the trail of a particularly violent ghoul nicknamed "Anna Dressed in Blood." Here, he finds friendship as well as his ghost. Just when readers think they've reached the denouement, Blake propels the plot in new and unexpected directions. The novel is a love story, a high-school buddy story, a story of revenge and tragedy, and a bildungsroman. The language is typical-teenage-coarse, and it is totally in keeping with the realities of adolescent speech. The violence is fittingly disgusting and not for the weak of stomach. The relationships among the characters, including Cas and his mother, are multidimensional and satisfying.--Nina Sachs, Walker Memorial Library, Westbrook, ME[Page 113]. (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.