Saturday, October 26, 2013

Substitute Creature (Tales from Lovecraft Middle School #4) by Charles Gilman

Review based on ARC.

Yes, best yet.  I know I said that about the last one, but *fortunately* they keep getting better!  I'm ever impressed with Gilman's ability to creep in so few pages.  This is, as with the others in the series, a book aimed at a 7/8-12 year old audience.  And definitely kids with a stronger stomach and a penchant for the creepy.

This one is creepiest yet.  Robert and Glenn continue their adventures with the Tillinghast mansion and the Lovecraft middle school which they both attend.  They find a new portal to the mansion that... lands them in a difficult situation.  Caught by the janitor after their near escape, Robert and Glenn find themselves making up stories to avoid having to explain the truth, which adults clearly never believe in these stories.  The janitor, however, tells Robert he will tell his mother (now the nurse at the school), and Robert sees problems on the horizon.  Before Maniac Mac has a chance to tell Robert's mother, however, there is declared a weather emergency as a blizzard finds itself centered over Lovecraft and the school is sent home.

Robert and his mother are, of course, last to leave since she is seeing to the well-being of the kids, and they ultimately find themselves caught in a place they'd rather not be, joined by Karina, Miss Carcasse (heh heh) the substitute librarian, Maniac Mac, and other creatures from ... other places.

And that is saying enough!  The story is creepy enough, Miss Carcasse is creepy enough, and we meet an individual who has heretofore been only discussed in the 3rd person!  I like that Gilman continues his overall plot with each book.

My only complaint is really that the book is REALLY aimed at a younger audience.  It's a simple book with a simple plot and simple prose.  Although the story is something that could be made into a young adult or adult novel with some real bite, Gilman is writing for the younger audience.  Yeah, that's not really a criticism of the book, just a complaint in my favor. ;)

I have sent, given, and recommended this book to many kids in my life.
FOUR AND A HALF out of five stars.

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