Dread Wood by Jennifer Killick, Published by Farshore Books.

Detention has never been so deadly…

Quite rightly dubbed the queen of Middle Grade horror, Jennifer Killick brings us her newest hair-raising adventure Dread Wood and it could be her best yet. Think Eight Legged Freaks meets Tremors, it’s Goosebumps with a fresh new feel for the tweens of today. Creepy caretakers, eeerie school grounds, mad scientists and an underground threat to make your skin crawl!

As with Jennifer’s highly acclaimed Crater Lake series I binged Dread Wood in a matter of hours. These stories are so compulsive and once you open the cover there’s no turning back – I literally could not turn the pages fast enough and found myself completely unable to tear myself away from the thrils, spills and chills that lurked inside.

This is one nightmare detention. When classmates (but not mate-mates) Hallie, Angelo, Gustav and Naira are forced to come to Dread Wood High on a weekend, they think things can’t get much worse. But they’re wrong… Aside from spending the day with bum bag-wearing Mr Canton, things are about to get seriously scary – and not just because he’s confiscated their phones!

Soon after their smart phones are incarcerated in Mr Canton’s man-bag, a piercing scream tears through the abandoned school grounds. The group split up to investigate and when they go to check on the school’s animals, they make the grim discovery that one of the pigs has disappeared.

Back at the main school building the children search and search for Mr Canton but it seems he has also vanished without a trace. All that remains is a strange sticky white substance on the ground…

It’s not long before the earth beneath their feet begins trembling and any second now they’re about to be snatched into a sinkhole. Cut off from help and in danger each time they touch the floor, the gang’s only hope is to work together to battle against the unknown. The ground is literally about to open up and swallow them!

And as if trying to evade deadly subterranean crawlers wasn’t enough, the group discover it’s no coincidence that they’re all there on weekend detention together. Something brought them here. A web of lies, betrayal and deception connects them all and someone has been watching and plotting and is out for revenge.

As well as some truly terrifying moments (oh my goodness… the eye!!) Dread Wood is super funny and the balance between horror and humour is absolutely on-point – I’m still chuckling about Mr Canton’s man-pouch (don’t ask!) The constant banter throughout- even in the most death defying situations. Jennifer writes the most brilliant characters – Gus is a total legend! – and they each come with their own ‘baggage’ that young people will be able to identify with.

Killick’s crown well and truly remains in it’s rightful place. Her brand of horror is hugely popular and tearing through Dread Wood it’s easy to see why. I was ridiculously excited to learn that this fantastic group of characters will return to our bookshelves in the Autumn in a spine-tingling sequel when The Fear Ground lands. Now I’ve read the teaser, I’m not sure how I’ll stand the wait!

With thanks to Farshore and The Write Reads for including me in the #UltimateBloTour

If you’ve not read the Crater Lake duology you absolutely must!! Click on the cover below to read my review of Crater Lake Evolution.

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