House of Dark Shadows
by Robert Liparulo
In this first book of the Dreamhouse Kings series, the King family moves into their dream house and joins a nightmare already in progress. The oldest of three kids, Xander is bitter about leaving his friends, home, and budding film career to live in the remote, Northern California town of Pinedale. But his father is going to be the new school principal, and for the sake of his family Xander has no choice but to move.
On such short notice, all they can find to live in is a motel. But on their first day of house-hunting, Xander's parents follow an overgrown road into the woods and discover a big, Victorian house whose owners left everything behind. In fact, the last family to live there literally disappeared some 30 years before. Rumor has it that the father went crazy and killed the whole family, then himself.
If you're picking up a spooky vibe here, you're no quicker than Xander. He's seen all the horror movies and he knows what comes next. And it does. Weird noises. Huge footprints in the dust. Shadowy figures appearing from one direction when the rest of the family is in another. A clearing in the woods where the laws of spacetime are a little warped. A linen closet that transports people to a locker in Xander's new school. It just gets weirder and weirder until the night a hairy hulk appears in the bedroom of Xander's kid sister and says something to her in ancient Greek. Xander and his 12-year-old brother David find a secret door, leading to a secret stairway, leading to a secret attic containing an impossibly long hallway full of doors, and behind each door is...
All right, I can't tell you what's behind them. Even if I had enough space to explain it, by the time I did so you would have no further reason to read this book. But I can tell you this much: it's dangerous. So dangerous that, when each brother goes through one of the doors, they both come this close to dying. So dangerous that their father says that's enough, they're going to pack up and leave in the morning. And then, wouldn't you know it, something happens that night to make sure they stay and face the incredible dangers behind those doors.
A family secret, bound up in a house that defies the laws of nature, returns to hit the King family where it hurts. Now they are committed to an adventure into deadly realms of supernatural horror. To find out how - or if - they survive, you'll have to read the further books in this series, including Watcher in the Woods, Gatekeepers, and Timescape.
St. Louis, USA
Recommended Age: 13+
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