THE SMOKY CORRIDOR
Haunted Mystery #3
Zack Jennings is finally starting at his new school. Never enjoyable in the best of circumstances, what with homework and cafeteria food, it doesn't help that Zack has no friends and is already the target of the school bully. At least his history teacher is nice...and it's her first year, too!
But for Zack there are added circumstances: a soul-sucking zombie living under the school, a ruthless hit man looking for buried treasure, and a voodoo-savvy ghost waiting to take over a new body.
Chris Grabenstein has once again created a creep-fest of chills and fun as the intrepid Zack and Zipper find themselves in a maze of twists and turns, dead ends, and very unpleasant booby traps.
Random House, Hardcover, August 2010, ISBN: 978-0375865114
Random House, Paperback, August 2011, ISBN: 978-0375865107
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"First day in a new school is never easy, but when your school was founded by a Civil War captain-turned-voodoo hougan and the corridors are full of ghosts only you can see and hear, it's particularly problematic. In his third funny and spooky mystery adventure, 11-year-old "ghost seer" Zack Jennings finds himself and his new friends, Malik and Azalea, entangled in a search for Confederate gold and a quest for voodoo revengeall while trying to thwart a dead man's desire to rise from the grave, fend off his zombie slave and avoid a major swirly from the school's worst bully. Agatha winner Grabenstein's third Haunted Places Mystery is as fizzy and fast paced, especially at its end, as previous outings. Plenty of well-constructed twists and turns, realistic (rather than slapstick) humor, nifty puzzles and a refreshingly positive relationship between Zack and his stepmother make this a standout series for fans of John Bellairs and those who have outgrown the repetitiveness of R.L. Stine. This stands alone, but those who haven't read the others will definitely want to seek them out."
"This third entry in the series continues the adventures of Zach Jennings, who has the uncanny ability to see and talk with ghosts. His entrance into sixth grade is complicated by the brain-eating zombie that sleeps under the school guarding a Confederate treasure trove for a voodoo-practicing ghost waiting to take over the body of an unsuspecting child. With a maze of tunnels under it, a cemetery behind it, and guardian ghosts wandering through it, this middle school is far worse than most. Grabenstein is (such) a riveting storyteller, most kids won't be able to put this book down. Its appeal will be wide, as it is a mystery, a thriller, a ghost story, a school story, an action adventure, and a humorous book."
—School Library Journal
"The latest in the Haunted Places Mystery series (the first, The Crossroads, 2008, won both the Anthony and Agatha awards) once again stars middle-schooler Zack Jennings, who is beset by ghostly visitations. He is starting a new schoolwell, actually, a really old one, sort of an antebellum Hogwarts built by an eccentric Civil War steamboat captainfilled with crazy corridors, the ghosts of two boys who died in a fire, and zombies. This has all the mordant wit, rollicking action, and grossness any middle-schooler could want. Fans will want to check out Grabenstein's other frightfests. Grades 5-8."
—Booklist, Connie Fletcher
"Chris Grabenstein hasn't forgotten how it feels to be a sixth grade boy. It's evident in his ghost stories for middle school readers. Few middle school boys would turn down a book about ghosts, zombies, and a hidden treasure of Confederate gold. Throw in voodoo, cemeteries, and the new school year, and it's obvious that Grabenstein knows the way to a reader's heart. The Smoky Corridor...is another winner from the author who won Anthony and Agatha Awards for previous books in this series."
—Lesa Holstine, Lesa's Book Critiques (read the full review)
"Chris Grabenstein keeps the humor and mystery going at high levels in this fun series with plenty of surprises... One strength of these titles is the colorful cast of supporting characters, both humans and ghosts. While Zack himself is a layered yet strong hero, he and his friends are realistic even amid paranormal activity. The Smoky Corridor is another strong story in this award-winning series that will leave readers more than satisfied and eager for the next installment."
—Amy Alessio, kidsread.com
"The Smoky Corridor stands well on its own. Zack's feelings and reactions ring true, as do those of both the other children and most of the adults...my niece (in the age group for which this is intended) loves the series...My biggest complaint? Grabenstein refers to a song several times throughout the book, and for the life of me, I can't get the blasted thing out of my head! Consider yourself warned."
— P.J. Coldren Reviewing the Evidence
"Chris Grabenstein has won a number of awards for his "Haunted Places" series of books for young readers, about a boy named Zack who keeps coming across all sorts of creepy locations now that his family has moved to Connecticut. The third book in the series, The Smoky Corridor, begins with Zack about to start at a new school, one that his father attended as a youngster. Naturally Dad has to fill Zack in on such things as the haunted janitor's closet, the ghost of a dead crossing guard and the twins who died in a suspicious fire. Zack, however, has already met these twins, who have a few warnings of their own to pass along."
—James D. Watts, TULSA WORLD
"[T]here seems to be a zombie in the basement, a mystery or two and even a treasure hunt! It's up to Zack to do what he does bestsolve the mystery before someone gets hurt! Another in a series of spooky mysteries for kids, the adventures of Zack is sure to please a paranormal-enthusiast kid or two."
—Amy Phelps, The Parkersburg News And Sentinel