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Thirteen-year-old Courtney O’Brian moves with her parents to Murmur, Massachusetts. She feels that a town with so much history will surely have a rich future and isn’t too nervous about starting high school without knowing anyone. Well, maybe she’s a little anxious.

But what is creeping her out more is the fact that they now live next door to an ancient cemetery with elaborately carved headstones dating back 300 years. In fact, their house served as the cemetery caretaker’s residence, and though most of it had been rebuilt after a fire, the basement and foundation date back to before 1712. And then there’s the issue of the ivy, which is growing all over the house and in the graveyard. Something seems weird about the ivy, though Courtney can’t figure out what.

Shortly after moving in, Courtney discovers even more ivy, carved into the walls of the basement. Then she meets her unusual new neighbors, Mr. Geyer and his daughter, Margaret, who help explain a bit about the history of the place. The Geyers are related to the original cemetery caretaker, who also carved many of the elaborate headstones. Tragically, his daughter, Prudence, died young. As the story goes, a town lady, rumored to be a witch, instructed him to carve ivy around the edge of the tombstone to represent life. Unfortunately, during a long-ago cemetery shuffling, his daughter’s grave disappeared. Her tombstone sits on empty ground, and Mr. Geyer and Margaret are compelled to find the missing grave.

An intrigued Courtney agrees to help them, so the Geyers share some of their research with her, including parts of the caretaker’s journal. But they soon encounter another obstacle when they learn that some land developers want to buy the cemetery land and build houses. The Geyers and O’Brians join forces to save the cemetery and its history before it’s too late. Meanwhile, strange stuff is happening around the property, like the weird woman dressed in black and riding a black horse of whom Courtney keeps catching glimpses. And the ivy that seems to thicken and grow almost before their eyes. And maybe the creepiest of all, the undeniable fact that the ivy carving in the basement is growing, spreading out to cover the walls and the floor.

Do you like mysteries? Good, juicy ones that pin your eyes to the page and send shivers down your spine? A scary tale strong enough on its own without the needless gore and excessive violence that many of the others seem to contain? Then CREEPERS is the book for you. Joanne Dahme has woven a delightfully creepy and riveting story filled with mystery, charm and spirit. Balanced throughout the entire novel, Dahme utilizes her incredible gift for sensory description, bringing her words to life through sight, sound, smell, touch and even taste.

As an added bonus, the artwork, including the cover and interior illustrations, is absolutely beautiful. Readers will be anxiously awaiting the next novel from this talented author.

Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman on October 18, 2011

by Joanne Dahme

  • Publication Date: September 9, 2008
  • Genres: Horror, Suspense
  • Hardcover: 232 pages
  • Publisher: Running Press Kids
  • ISBN-10: 0762433132
  • ISBN-13: 9780762433131