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The Hanging Hill    by Chris Grabenstein order for
Hanging Hill
by Chris Grabenstein
Order:  USA  Can
Random House, 2009 (2009)
Hardcover, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

The Hanging Hill is a sequel to Chris Grabenstein's spooky The Crossroads, a fast paced middle school adventure starring eleven-year-old Ghost Seer Zack Jennings, who moved, along with his dad, his new stepmom Judy, and trusty dog Zipper to the small Connecticut town where his dad grew up - and which was home to quite an array of spirits, including a very malevolent one.

As this episode opens, Judy (an imaginative writer of children's books) is about to have her story Curiosity Cat performed as a musical at the Hanging Hill Playhouse, directed by the demanding Reginald Grimes. Judy, Zack and Zipper drive there. In parallel, readers see the villains of the piece (who soon include Reginald Grimes) planning to perform a horrific resurrection ritual at the playhouse. It requires special children and will bring back to life monstrous, murderous ghosts like Mad Dog Murphy (who comes with his own electric chair).

At the playhouse, Zack befriends child star Meghan McKenna (who can also see ghosts in daylight), and her whining (hyper allergic) fellow star Derek Stone tags along with them. After a gallery of friendly show-people ghosts inform Jack he's the demon slayer and warn him to 'Beware Pandemonium', he learns that his dead mother was once an actress in this very playhouse - the stage is set for a dramatic confrontation. Fans of ghostbusting adventure will have great fun with The Hanging Hill.

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