So I really haven’t been scared by a book since Katherine Arden’s work last year, Scritch Scratch was scary, and then extra scary and sad once you found out the twist. Lindsay Currie did a great job with her historical research mixing that with middle school drama, and all the while making a believable yet tough to solve ghost story so props to her.
Claire’s father does ghost tours of Chicago, and she wants absolutly nothing to do with them. She’s a scientist and the stuff her dad talks about is just paranormal foolishness, right?
But one night she gets stuck helping her dad with a tour and some of the stuff he’s talking about starts to seem a little too real, she’s ready for the tour to be over and she thinks she’s made it through especially when she see a boy with a sad face and dark eyes at the back of the busy, there is something off about him, especially since at the end of the tour, he’s just gone.
Claire tries to think nothing of it at first, she must be imagining things, letting ghost stories she heard on the tour get the best of her, but then the scratching starts, then the whispers in the dark, the number 396 appearing everywhere she turns, and the boy with the dark eyes starts following her.
Claire realizes she’s being haunted and she’s got to find out what the boy from the bus wants before it’s too late.
This novel was scary for several reasons, one because Currie didn’t fall into the trap that horror authors often fall into of revealing the ghost/monster/scary thing too soon. She did a great job at hinting at it, and the main characters could feel the effects of its presence which made it all the more creepy. It had the lead character doubting herself, which is great in horror because then you’re not sure whether to believe in the ghost or not either.
Even when the characters as a group are pretty sure the ghost is real, it stays mysterious enough that its mystery isn’t easy to solve, keeping the readers guessing till the very end. I also have to shout out all the historical research Currie did for the book to make it history meld with fiction. A+ on that front.