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Evil Roots

by Andrew Nance & illustrated by Coleman Polhemus

Age Range: 12 - 14

Pub Date: July 19th, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-8050-8748-2
Publisher: Christy Ottaviano/Henry Holt

Despite the terrible events at Daemon Hall last year, horror writer Ian Tremblin is repeating his contest to discover and publish a talented young writer (Daemon Hall, 2007).

Taking titles from a mysterious blank book that possibly belonged to Rudolph Daemon, Tremblin invites three contestants to join past winner and former mental patient Wade Reilly along with Daemon Hall survivor Demarius for an evening of storytelling. During the sharing of the first story, the six writers are suddenly transported to Daemon Hall, where horror still lives. Whether they tell tales of haunted Native American hunting grounds, construction deaths or possessed tattoos that stitch themselves onto a host, the authors must share their stories and survive the night. Nance again uses the frame to present an enjoyable compilation of fireside tales. While none of the individuals has a fleshed-out personality, the narrative format really doesn't demand them. Daemon Hall is reminiscent of many a haunted house, and the Faustian bargain that underlies the story is comfortingly familiar. Polhemus’ stark artwork builds the mood, with heavy lines and crosshatching complementing the campfire nature of the tales.

For a small summer-reading spine tingle, this is an excellent option. (Horror. 12-14)