I just finished a short novel called “The Darkling” by Charles Butler. It was darkly mystical and mysterious, especially well done for a ‘kids’ book that’s really just a book with kids in it that can be read by anyone. From the inside cover, “As a small child who was afraid of the dark, Petra – now fifteen – had named the odd shadow, cast on her bedroom ceiling by a tree branch outside, the Darkling, and had made up a charm to protect herself from whatever spells it might be chanting in its silent language. Now, on Halloween evening, Petra, who has a newspaper route, delivers a copy of a magazine called The Spiritual Messenger to old Mr. Century at his vast mansion, Century Hall. An unexpected meeting with this legendary person, now nearly 102, and the events that follow bring the Darkling and Petra’s charm against it back to life….. ” Anyway, you get the idea – it was excellently written and paced – the author has an excellent ability to set tone with the merest of gesture or detail. And the best part, perhaps? Got it for a dollar at the dollar store – hardcover with a fantastic ink & watercolor painting on the jacket and everything – heh.

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