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The Hanging Hill: A Haunted Mystery (Haunted Mysteries (Quality)) Paperback – 24 Aug 2010

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 14 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Great read for all 7 Jun. 2010
By Cheryl A. Reynolds - Published on
Format: Hardcover
#2 in the YA paranormal mystery series featuring Zack Jennings and his family. Eleven-year-old Zack and his stepmother Judy are off to Chatham, CT where Judy's book Curiosity Cat is being produced as a play by the rather famous director Reginald Grimes at the Hanging Hill Theatre. Theatres are notoriously full of ghosts as Zack and Judy, who can also see ghosts, find out quickly, much to their dismay. Some ghosts are benevolent, others seem neutral and still others downright evil. Zack is excited to learn that one of his favorite actresses, Meghan McKenna, will be playing the girl's role in the play and when they meet they get along famously--and Zack learns that Meghan can also see ghosts. Her co-star, Derek Stone, can't--and he's also got an annoying Hollywood mom and is allergic to Zack's beloved dog, Zipper. Strange things begin happening almost from the moment of their arrival and soon Zack and Meghan are off exploring and uncover a deadly plot which many of the theatre's ghosts are involved in, too.

This was a wonderful book, plenty of scary moments and lots of great fun throughout, whether you're eleven years old or eleven plus forty! Highly recommended, and though it stands well on its own, I think it's best enjoyed if you read The Crossroads, the first book featuring Zack and Judy, first.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Fine as a stand-alone 20 Dec. 2011
By Pop Bop - Published on
While this is the second creepy/ghosty story to feature Zach and his step-mom, it works fine as a stand-alone, although reading it will probably send you looking for its prequel, "The Crossroads", and its two, (as of now), sequels.

"Hanging Hill" has a solid hero, good secondary characters, creepy but not terribly violent action, and a decent plot. I would expect it to be very appealing to a middle grade reader, and to lead to a certain sense of accomplishment when finished. Certainly a solid, scary choice.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Humor, Suspense and Plenty of Scary Paranormal Happenings 30 Nov. 2009
By KidsReads - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Twelve-year-old Zack, who first appeared in the spooky suspense novel THE CROSSROADS, is back and hoping to have some time away from ghosts. Zack's house burned down at the end of his last adventure, and he thinks that means he's now away from all the spirits that haunted the abode. But he soon realizes how wrong he is when he meets the spirit of notorious criminal Mad Dog Murphy while eating his breakfast at the local hotel.

Luckily, he and his stepmother, Judy, are scheduled to oversee the play of one of her books at an old small town theater, the Hanging Hill Playhouse. But he's still hearing and seeing strange things at that historic location in Chatham, Connecticut. Just who is that ghostly young woman juggling on the stairs?

Misery loves company, and Zack is thrilled to learn that someone else sees the ghosts: the famous child actress Meghan McKenna, who is starring in the new play. Together, the two explore the old theater, seeing ghosts in hallways, stairways and in the basement. A lot of scary activity is taking place --- and not all of it is from ghosts. Humans can be just as menacing (Grimes, the director, is particularly fierce).

Little by little, Zack and Meghan begin to figure out what is going on and why the director of the play is so strange. But many seek to stop them --- and some want to sacrifice them. Adding to Zack's dilemma is the discovery of the spirit of a deceased family member. It's hard enough dealing with ghosts of people he doesn't know, so facing one he does seems downright impossible. And after Zack sees Mad Dog Murphy again, this time at Hanging Hill, he begins to seriously wonder what is going on. The spirits are definitely gathering, and Zack knows he and Meghan need to stop whatever it is they're up to.

Anthony Award-winning author Chris Grabenstein uses experience in New York theater for details in this dramatic story, along with humor, suspense and plenty of scary paranormal happenings to keep the action moving quickly. Zack, the reluctant hero, is appealing and smart, and readers will be looking forward to his next adventure.

--- Reviewed by Amy Alessio
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A fun, scary read for both kids and adults 30 Mar. 2010
By Sheila L. Beaumont - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This scary, funny sequel to "The Crossroads" is even better than the first book! Young Zack, accompanied by his stepmother, Judy, and his Jack Russell terrier, Zipper, travels to the Hanging Hill Playhouse, where a play based on Judy's "Curiosity Cat" children's books is scheduled to be performed by the Pandemonium Players. Unfortunately, the director, who obviously has a screw loose, has other plans, which involve using an ancient Carthaginian ritual that will feed children to Moloch and summon demonic spirits from hell that he believes will bring him untold riches and make him ruler of the world.

"The Hanging Hill" is a marvelous mixture of the supernatural, thrills and chills, suspense, twists, humor, and terrific characters, some of whom are creepy, while others are delightful, including the famous child actress Meghan, her mother, and a helpful local librarian who helps Zack and Meghan research the origin of the word "pandemonium" and find out why the theater's acting company is called the Pandemonium Players. This book is great fun for both kids and adults, and I can hardly wait for the next installment!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A Great Read for the Entire Family! 23 Aug. 2009
By John - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Chris Grabenstein's sequel to the award-winning THE CROSSROADS is every bit as good and even more SCARY, as Zack, his dog, his stepmom and several new friends battle ghosts and demons in a haunted theater on Hanging Hill. Although THE CROSSROADS and THE HANGING HILL deal with ghosts, the supernatural, and scary things that go bump in the night, don't be afraid to let your children read this book. Three generations in our family loved THE CROSSROADS and are now thrilling to HANGING HILL. Since I was the first to discover Grabenstein (I love his John Ceepak/Danny Boyle adult mysteries!), I get to read his new books first. As soon as I finished H.HILL I passed it along to my adult daughter, who's reading it before handing it down to her oldest two boys (8 and 11).

Grabenstein brings to his children's books the same mix of mystery, suspense, and humor that makes his Ceepak/Boyle mysteries so good. CROSSROADS and HANGING HILL are spiced with twists and subplots that you might not expect in children's books, which is probably why they appeal to adults and kids alike. I'm now impatiently waiting for the next story!
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