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The Smoky Corridor by Chris Grabenstein

The Smoky Corridor

by Chris Grabenstein

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Fast-moving and fun. ( )
  Sullywriter | Apr 3, 2013 |
Zack and Zipper are still seeing ghosts, and this time they are haunting Zack's new school. Most of the ghosts are warning Zack about voodoo, zombies and to not tell any adults. So Zack and his new friends at school have to figure things out for themselves.

This series is a lot of fun and since it is aimed at middle-schoolers it is a quick read for me.

The best thing you can say about a book is that it keeps your interest, keeps you turning pages. Grabenstein does that no matter what he writes, YA or adult books are all interesting and keep you involved in the story.

I can't wait for the next ones. ( )
  bookswoman | Mar 31, 2013 |
This another great addition to the series. I love books that both my eleven year old daughter and I can both enjoy and this books fits in that niche nicely. The books are so sweet, I loved all of the guardian ghosts. There is a lot of action packed in with ghosts, clairvoyants, vodoo, zombies, and treasure. I liked the civil war plot element too. Like Mr. Grabenstein, I too enjoyed visiting civil war battle fields as a child with my parents. Read these books around Halloween for maximum enjoyment. Kudos to Mr. Grabenstein for depicting a loving blended family. Zach and his stepmother get along and truly love each other. More of these kind of families need to be put forth as positive role models. I look forward to reading the next book in the series. ( )
  arielfl | Mar 20, 2011 |
Zach Jennings starts the sixth grade at a new school, a renovated mansion bequeathed to the town by a Civil War soldier. Zach faces several ordinary challenges including confrontations with a school bully and an antagonistic vice-principle, but he must also overcome several paranormal obstacles. As was revealed in the first two installments of the Haunted Mysteries series, Zach sees ghosts, but this time the spirits warn him that a zombie lurks beneath the school. Brief chapters give the perspective of numerous different characters, and readers might struggle to keep track of all the minor ghosts and classmates introduced throughout the story. Despite the full cast of characters, the plot moves at a swift pace and the action will keep readers engaged. All the different story lines come together at the end, revealing a few unexpected character details along the way. Minor descriptions of violence and gore make this book more appropriate for older children. Grades 5 through 8. ( )
  rebkamp | Mar 5, 2011 |
Reason for Reading: Next in the series.

Ahh, it was such a blast sitting down with this next book about Zack Jennings, the boy who sees ghosts. Summer is over and Zack is finally starting at his new school. This Middle School has been around since the end of the Civil War when the mansion was donated as such and over the years parts have been added onto it making it a maze of hallways and classrooms. As soon as Zack arrives, he's visited by a ghost from book one who tells him something major is going down at the school; a zombie in the depths of the basement below has reawakened and Zack needs to deal with it and the evil spirit that controls it before he takes over the body of an unknown student in the school.

This has all the ingredients for a great horror story! Two ghost children from 1910 who died in a fire in the school under mysterious circumstances and are out for revenge, a zombie (or two), ghost stories, a few gruesome deaths and children's souls in peril. Zack has been warned that adults cannot be involved so he can't tell his stepmother, Judy, who also sees ghosts, and has been his supernatural sleuthing partner for the first two books. Instead Zack makes friends with two loner/outcast-type kids and they are pulled into the events with Zack. But not only does Zack have to deal with the supernatural, he also has two very alive people on his trail and trying to get into the basements as well, for the original owner of the mansion is said to have stolen a sizable treasure of Confederate gold during the war and hidden it somewhere on the property. These two baddies are related to a soldier buried in the nearby Civil War Cemetery and they know all about people who can communicate with the dead.

I really enjoyed Zack and Judy working together in the first books, so I did miss her presence in this book, but happily she does remain as a minor character. Zack's new friends are both very interesting characters and will make a welcome addition to the cast in future books. Malik is black with a recently out of work dad and an ailing mother who needs a kidney transplant but is currently confined to a wheelchair because they have no insurance and can't afford dialysis at the moment; Azalea appears to be your typical Goth girl on the outside with a morbid interest in death but she and her mom are living with an aunt because her army father is in Afghanistan (I think?) again and she knows once he's back they'll pick up and move again like always.

This is my favourite of the first three books! A great story with interesting ghosts who have creepy backgrounds, and an evil spirit trained in the arts of voodoo and of course the zombie (or two) to make things a little more gruesome. The new characters add elements to the book that is making Zack's personal world more real over the course of the three books. I rarely make definite age suggestions but I think this series will be most appreciated by 10-14's. Older teens will find it too tame and younger than ten may find it too gruesome (unless they are used to that sort of thing). A great horror read for MGs. Highly recommended.

While the books are independent of each other; there is not a continuing story line. Each consecutive book does contain ghostly characters met in previous books, so while not necessary, it does make it more fun to read them in order. ( )
1 vote ElizaJane | Dec 5, 2010 |
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With the help of his stepmother, his dog Zipper, and new friend Malik, Zack Jennings faces ghosts and zombies at his new middle school, which is said to house a lost Confederate treasure.

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