Gabe Ashe deals with friendship drama while a supernatural mystery closes in on him.
After a fire destroys his home, Gabe and his family move into his grandmother’s mansion in a small Massachusetts town. Gabe quickly befriends his neighbor, Seth Hopper, and the two play a dark fantasy game in the woods between their houses. Wraithen (Seth’s character) and Meatpie (Gabe) are Robber Princes of allied kingdoms, endlessly pursuing a baby-eating, “mutated humanoid-beast” called the Hunter in lush fantasy interludes. When not playing Prince Meatpie, Gabe desperately avoids his social label from his old school—dorkface. As the other kids extend invitations to Gabe under the condition that Seth not be included, he fears Seth’s obsession with the game has designated Seth the school dork. Gabe’s resulting internal conflict about friendship, realistically executed, is ably characterized through action and decisions. Seth, possessive of Gabe’s friendship, is openly hostile toward the other boys verbally and with immature pranks. But some of those pranks might not be Seth’s responsibility—a mysterious figure terrorizes Gabe’s house and follows kids from school. The strange happenings fit the modus operandi of Seth’s monster-foe, the Hunter. Gabe must solve the increasingly intensifying mystery before someone gets hurt—or worse. While he occasionally gives too much away, Poblocki (The Ghost of Graylock, 2012, etc.) creates danger by not pulling punches.
An atmospheric, creepy ghost story best read at night. (Horror. 10-15)