"I am bringing you face to face with the King of Terror. I dare not say his name aloud. Come a little closer and I shall whisper it to you: The Creeper."
What if you had done something terrible, something almost unforgivable, to your best friend and now you were racked with guilt? Lucy not only has to struggle with her conscience, but has to face The Creeper, a ghostly avenger who spies on wrong-doers.
It all begins with an old story tape Lucy buys for Halloween, "The Creeper", a 1950s radio play that tells the story of a man burnt alive who then becomes a spirit made of dust that seeks out those that have wronged others. Lucy and her friend Jack think it's a bit corny, with low-budget sound effects and rather melodramatic narration, but something in it affects Lucy so deeply that soon she realises that The Creeper knows the bad thing she did to her friend and has picked his next victim: her.
This is a delightful and totally absorbing tale, told with plenty of wit, flair and humour. (In a conversation about why Lucy's arch rival has stolen her best friend, Jack suggests throwing a tennis ball at her. "Typical boys' response", Lucy replies. Jack answers: "I apologise for being a boy".)
It's genuinely creepy in places, which children will relish with glee, but parents can rest assured that beneath the goosebump-inducing scenes in her darkened bedroom where Lucy believes something is waiting for her, there are plenty of neatly observed and subtly played moral messages that children will tap into without even realising it.
The themes of friendship, storytelling, and even a guilty conscience, which in some respects The Creeper signifies for Lucy, all stand out strongly among the blood-curdling chills. This being a Pete Johnson story, there are also one or two excellent twists in store that completely shatter what you thought was going to happen. Children will devour this title, which features superb cover art, and parents and teachers will be glad that although they are having the living daylights scared out of them, the children will close the final pages with more than a little food for thought. --Jonathan Weir
"Pete Johnson bringsus a story that is scary and spooky, with a ghostly apparition seeking horrible revenge. Readers will love it" (The Bookseller
"Explores the subtle power of the imagination" (Books for Keeps