Wicked Dead: Snared
Stefan Petrucha & Thomas Pendleton

HarperTeen
Paperback 224pp, $7.99
Review by David Simms

This is the third Wicked Dead novel I’ve reviewed and easily the most intriguing so far. It began with Lurker, picked up a lot of steam with Torn (a great tale about a rock band with supernatural troubles) and now the third, Snared, which it easily does to the reader.

Before anyone flips it over and notices the YA imprint and tosses it aside, remembering how childlike so many YA titles are these days, take a moment to realize there ARE several talented authors in the YA field, writing HORROR. Everyone knows that teens (and younger) love to be scared and will not fall for the cheap tricks that might have worked ten years ago. It’s okay now for a character to bite the dust, have sex, utter a foul word, and damn, be a real teenager.

Petrucha and Pendleton realize this and have come up with a cool premise with could be an entire novel unto itself but they choose to use it only as a launching point into the true tale. A quartet of ghost girls is trapped in an orphanage, held hostage by an evil headmistress. They play a game, “throwing the bones” (literally) which is a variation on the old campfire tales to chill the others. The catch: when the winner gets to tell her tale, she hopes to latch onto her own past history, which would release her from that hell and into a better place.

Yet Petrucha & Pendleton do have a deeper tale to tell. Anne’s pissed about being locked in the Red Room, a torture yet to be divulged, and unleashes her story about a girl, Lindsay, who is dragged to a family beach vacation (scary enough for any teen), but when she notices the creepy neighbors, things get worse. She meets hottie Mark who is held hostage by the two strange men and things get ugly, and scary, fast. Each “episode” of Wicked Dead touches on real issues faced by teens using believable characters and dialogue – not an easy feat with this age group. Internet prowlers, gangs, family violence, etc – it’s all here and more.

There are three more to go in the series. Hopefully, this duo will get smarter and keep it going. Recommended for both teens and adults.

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