Librarian of the Haunted Mansion (and nominal “author”) Amicus Ravenswood tries to outfright four 12-year-old tale spinners.
Tim, Noah, Willa, and Steve call themselves the Fearsome Foursome. They all love the horror writing of Edgar Allan Poe and H.P. Lovecraft and convene every week at their clubhouse to try to outscare one another by telling frightening tales. One stormy day, their clubhouse is destroyed; in its place are four fancy invitations to an unfamiliar address. That evening they meet at the ornate gates of a sprawling estate and enter (at their own risk, of course) to find a creepy librarian ready to tell them eerie tales—four in all, each starring one of the Fearsome Foursome. Tim finds a cursed baseball glove. Willa wishes her pets back to life with a “gypsy” token. Noah grows some primordial life-forms in the backyard pool. And Steve gets caught in a deadly game of dare…or dare. Each tale has a grisly (if unbelievable) end, as does the collection. Esposito comes to books from film and TV, including R.L. Stine’s The Haunting Hour, and the four stories in this slick, scare-free package, narrated intrusively by cut-rate Crypt Keeper clone Ravenswood, could have been plucked from any tome in Jovial Bob’s Goosebumps book brand. Final art by comic artist Jones not seen; the text does not paint the characters as notably diverse.
Neither funny nor frightening, but it will have an audience. (Horror. 8-11)