AFTER DARK by James Leck


Age Range: 10 - 14
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Rolling Hills is a boring, little hick town…until sundown.

Tenth-grader Charlie Harker leaves his expensive boarding school with visions of a summer break spent in Hawaii dancing in his head. He’s crushed when his mother tells him that she, his twin sister, Lilith, and Charlie will be rehabbing an old family manse into a bed-and-breakfast instead. He’s mortified to learn the family fortune—estranged Dad was a Tony Robbins–style self-help guru—is completely gone. Moments after waking in the driveway of the inn (after a monumental nap on the drive), Charlie is set upon by his shotgun-toting, deaf uncle Hal and local conspiracy theorist Miles Van Helsing. Trying at every turn to dodge actual work at the inn, even after the arrival of his TV-star brother, Johnny, Charlie is drawn into Miles’ investigation of strange happenings at the neighbor’s house. When the threat proves to be real, Charlie finds the only recourse is to run…but can he run fast enough? Leck’s sarcastic thriller features a distinctive monster that’s a fun twist on zombies…er…vampires. Given the final scene, a sequel is likely but not necessary. Scenes of Charlie and Co. fleeing “zompires” feels a bit like repetitive padding near the deus ex machina close, but Charlie’s snarky narration and skewed outlook make this a solid choice.

A great light read for graduates of John Kloepfer’s The Zombie Chasers (2010). (Horror. 10-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2015
ISBN: 978-1-77138-110-9
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Kids Can
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 2015


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