Zombies strike the 1876 Philadelphia World's Fair.
Eleanor Fitt—of the Philadelphia Fitts—wants nothing more than for her brother to return from his three-year odyssey abroad. She and her dear Mama have just about run out of funds, and she misses Elijah terribly. So when a shambling Dead gives her a note from him telling her he's been detained, she is mightily distressed. The next day, the determined teen is off for some help from the Spirit-Hunters who have set up shop at the International Centennial Exhibition. Once readers accept Eleanor’s casual response to the animated corpses—she recovers awfully quickly from her initial close encounter—they are in for an enjoyably breathless, if slightly disgusting romp. Her can-do attitude finds her at one point systematically disabling a throng of zombies by smashing their kneecaps with her parasol. Mystery, romance, humor, action, a sure-fire setting: Dennard delivers. The romance is less a triangle than a straight line, as readers will instantly spot Eleanor's best match, but that doesn't make it any less enjoyable. Two of the Spirit-Hunters, the Creole magician at its head and a de-sexed Chinese girl who disguises herself as a boy, are more stereotypes than fully realized characters, but there is room for them to grow in the sequel.
Readers who can look past the gloomily generic paranormal cover will find themselves pleasantly occupied. (Paranormal historical fiction. 12 & up)