Ghostly portents and horrifying visions drive two children to desperate efforts to avert an impending catastrophe in this debut chiller.
Rummaging through estate goods their father has been hired to auction off, Ohio sibs Josie and Fox find two old Polaroid cameras that produce a spectral image of their sad former owner, a suicide victim, in every picture they spit out. The plot thickens with the further discovery of a gold pin that projects Josie back to the 19th century to watch as a love triangle ends with a gunshot and the creation of the Mothman—a cryptid of recent vintage that the author casts here as a vengeful spirit linked to a string of historical calamities. Worse yet, the old pin carries the titular curse, which requires its owner either to save every potential victim of an upcoming disaster or die. But what disaster looms? How to concoct a convincing warning? Can the curse ever be broken? Along with a red-eyed, winged monster who is not at all shy about appearing, even over crowds of terrified onlookers, Hayes folds sudden blasts of bone-chilling cold, conversations with the dead, and plenty of other thrillingly eerie elements into a tale that winds suspensefully to a wild, scary climax. Hindle’s static cartoons add occasional notes of atmospheric gloom.
An ectoplasmic extravaganza…tailor-made for reading beneath the bedcovers. (Suspense. 10-12)