Happy day to everyone.
Today, I’m reviewing THE LEGEND OF THE PUMPKIN THIEF by Charles Day.
ISBN: 1944816542 (ISBN13: 9781944816544)
Publication Date: October 18, 2016
Synopsis (from Goodreads):
As the townsfolk sleep, something creeps into the neighborhood. Hidden in shadows, its presence is as old as time itself, its intent not born of goodness.
Nick, a teenager who fancies himself a detective, wakes to find his carved masterpiece missing. Now a mystery is afoot, and Nick has his first assignment, to find out who or what is snatching up the town’s pumpkins and why.
Unfortunately, as with all great detectives, obstacles stand in Nick’s way—the neighborhood bully and his cronies, and the strange old lady and her dog who share the run-down house at the end of Nick’s block. As Nick investigates, an urban legend unravels . . . .
The Legend of The Pumpkin Thief.
Nick fears the legend as he embarks on the most dangerous adventure of his young life. Collecting clues, getting ever closer to the true nature of evil, he learns that curiosity comes with a high price.
I have mixed emotions about this book. I read it twice because I felt my adult-ism may have skewed my opinion, so the second time, I tried to read it as a 10 or 12-year-old. Reading it from that perspective, I could see where the book would be entertaining to that age group. The pace wasn’t bogged down with unnecessary dialogue or scenery. The characters were snarky and interesting, and the plot was scary without being overly so, which makes it a good introductory read for those younger kids who are interested in spooky stories but don’t want to be too terrified they can’t sleep at night.
With that said, I still found the story not as engaging as I had hoped. I do read a good deal of middle-grade books so I’m not new to the age group, or the books available to them. While the pace on this one was quick, I thought maybe it moved too fast. The story is also told from several points of view, which is ok with me, but I almost wish the pace had slowed down a tad so we could learn more about each character. For example, there is a scene with Lou, this bully in the neighborhood, and we get a bleak look at his life with his dad. We get a brief glimpse at the dynamics, and it’s not pleasant, but it is almost lost in the story. What’s worse is that it didn’t stir any empathy or sympathy within me. It was kind of like one of those “well, that stinks” moments, and then it was gone. I understand that the author didn’t want to linger on the point as it wasn’t part of the tale of the pumpkin thief, but I wondered why it was thrown in for such a brief second only to be forgotten.
I didn’t care for Mrs. Needlewhitter and her dog, Baxter. This rifle-toting old lady never became a loveable character to me. I wanted to empathize with her, too, but never quite got there.
As for the plot, it was good. The story really came to life Halloween night when all the ghouls and goblins and the Pumpkin Thief came out to play. That’s when Nick, his pesky sister, Samantha, and their friends really get the spooks. However, I thought the unveiling of the Pumpkin Thief was a bit of a letdown. I was expecting someone more sinister, someone that would make me gasp and think, “No freaking way!”
Overall, it was a good story. I’m sure 10-12-year-olds will enjoy it. Regardless of my feelings about the story, the author must be doing something right as the book was nominated for the Bram Stoker Award for best first novel in 2012. For me, I would have liked something a bit more engaging, scarier, with a little more mystery and substance. I give it 3 1/2 stars.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Charles Day is the Horror Writer Association’s Mentor Program Chairperson, Co-Chair for the NY/LI Chapter, and a member of the HWA Library committee. He is also a member of the New England Horror Writers Association, the American Library Association, and the Young Adult Library Services Association.
He is also the Bram Stoker Award® nominated author of the YA novel, THE LEGEND OF THE PUMPKIN THIEF. He’s also published his first adult novel DEEP WITHIN and the first book in his Adventures of Kyle McGerrt trilogy, a YA western heroic fantasy, THE HUNT FOR THE GHOULISH BARTENDER, and his first coauthored novel with Mark Taylor, REDEMPTION.
His forthcoming publications and projects in development include a comic book series based on the ADVENTURES OF KYLE McGERRT trilogy, his first middle grade series, THE UNDERDWELLERS, and his third YA novel, IMMORTAL FAMILY.
On the publishing business side of things, Charles is the owner of Day Media and Publishing in New York, which houses the successful imprints, Evil Jester Press, Evil Jester Comics, and Hidden Thoughts Press (mental wellness collections).
He’s also an artist and illustrator, who is passionate about creating the many characters he’s brought to life in his published, or soon to be published works. You can find out more about his upcoming writing projects, check out his illustrations and art, or find out what he’s cooking up next with that evil dudeinthebox, the evil Jester, by visiting his Facebook page:https://www.facebook.com/charles.day.92