A group of teens tries to survive a spooky night.
Mexican-American teenager Mateo is excited to cruise the long and windy Pacific Coast Highway with his three school buddies in the jeep he fixed from the ground up. Mateo’s ready to kick the dust of his small town off his shoes, get his immigrant parents off his back, and head to Cal Poly University to become an automotive engineer. In the meantime, Mateo and his pals plan on spending this particular night away from their phones and on the open road enjoying the evening’s blood moon. Legend tells of spirits that spend the blood moon interfering with the living, and it doesn’t take long for Mateo and his friends to encounter some spooky doings of their own. The author crafts a solid-enough little ghost story, leaning on propulsive action and simple characterization (only Mateo approaches three dimensions) to build up to the big scares. The enterprise reads like a Goosebumps book for teenagers. The novel’s greatest strength is its mercenary pacing, getting in and out with a lesson learned and scares enjoyed before readers get remotely restless. Readers fond of sophisticated horror should look elsewhere, but those with little time or who are just dipping their toes into tales of things that go bump in the night will find enough to satisfy here. Series companions Dark Star, Graffiti, and The Witching Hour publish simultaneously.
A superfast, sturdy-enough creep show. (Horror. 10-14)