While accompanying their father on a business trip to Estes Park, Colorado, seventh-grader Jayla Walters and her younger brother stay in a hotel filled with ghosts.
After a late-night ghostly encounter with a woman wearing a maid’s uniform, Jayla and her brother, Dion, decide to explore their temporary home. They discover that not only is the Stanley Hotel the most haunted hotel in Colorado, but their room is particularly noteworthy for its spooky happenings. Ghostly voices, energy surges, and mysterious lights are only a handful of the supernatural encounters that other guests have recorded. Jayla and Dion decide to free the ghost of chambermaid Elizabeth from her nightly wanderings, but they only manage to anger her. This series for young horror readers is based on real-life famous hauntings, but while the underpinnings of this Rocky Mountain tale may enchant those interested in supernatural history, the story itself fails to intrigue. A flat plot, missed opportunities to plumb emotion, and wooden storytelling yield a narrative that is slow and plodding. The failure to describe the setting, so important in a ghost story, further robs the narrative of its power. Ivy’s stiff black-and-white illustrations only somewhat mitigate this. An author’s note explains the source of the inspiration and offers tips for young supernatural investigators. The illustrations reveal the Walters to be black. Beware the Bell Witch (Tennessee), Ghostly Reunion (Minnesota), and Spirits of the Storm (Texas) publish simultaneously.
A poor start to a series with a promising premise. (Supernatural adventure. 8-12)