Review Blog

Apr 23 2008

Scared to death by Alan Gibbons

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Orion, 2007.
(Ages 13+) Award winning author Alan Gibbons has written a tense and scary thriller set in modern East London. One night when travelling on the tube Paul meets the strange and daring Redman. Fascinated by his new friend, Paul is lured into doing things that he wouldn't normally consider: joyriding, staying out overnight and drinking. Then terrible things begin to happen – a young student Paul had met at a party is murdered and a teacher is scared to death near the place where her body had been found. Paul is forced to confront the truth about his dangerous new friend and discovers shocking facts about a family curse.

This has all the ingredients for a thrilling read. The murders are set against a backdrop of Jack the Ripper's London and Paul gradually realises that he is part of a fight against an ancient evil. His time travelling journeys to different periods of history will enthral his young readers.

Paul is a very normal boy who loves his mum and his girlfriend Netty and readers will identify with someone like themselves. His character contrasts with the frightening, elusive nature of Redman and adds to the tension in the story.

Readers will enjoy this supernatural thriller, with its frightening thrills and tense action. The prologue will entice even reluctant readers and the cliffhanger ending should have fans coming back for more in the second book in the Hells Underground series.
Pat Pledger

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