A cursed landmark complicates the lives of four teenagers.
An abandoned Western film set lies in the middle of the Arizona desert. Narrator Alex and his friends live nearby, on Edmonds Air Force Base, and they’ve heard the stories. Everyone who worked on the set back in the 1980s, when it burned down, was cursed, and it’s still active, inflicting “eternal bad luck” on anyone who enters. But Alex’s friend Gabby is a budding movie nerd, and she’s itching to check it out. After a creepy expedition to the site, bad luck plagues the group of friends, and it’s up to them to break the curse. The tale moves from story beat to story beat with little fuss and no padding. Unfortunately, the author speeds along so fast that character work gets left behind, with the result that nobody has a particularly individual voice. Aside from the Islamophobia endured by pal Ahmed, the story sticks to Main Street to its own detriment. When there’s no emotional involvement in characters, there’s little reason to worry whether they’ll make it to the end in one piece. Alex and Gabby are Latino, and the base is realistically multicultural. Three other entries in the Atlas of Cursed Places series publish simultaneously: Deadman Anchor, Radioactive, and Skeleton Tower.
A skeleton with no meat to speak of. (Horror. 10-14)