CM . . .
. Volume XIII Number 19 . . . . May 11, 2007
Joel and Cassie are not looking forward to moving from their small flat in London to a grand old house in the countryside with their new stepfamily. Joel wants to at least try to get along with his new brothers and father, while Cassie doesn't even make an attempt, being as difficult and disagreeable as possible at all times. Then the strange events start happening: Cassie's room is mysteriously ransacked, and Joel sees a ghost boy in the garden, an image of a bloody knife and shadow in the mirror, and he starts waking up from vivid nightmares in a cold sweat. It will not come as much of a surprise to the reader when the four children discover that there is a ghost or two in their new house; it just so happens that Patrick Sanderson, the builder and original occupant of the house, murdered his wife and stepsons decades ago and buried their bodies in the cellar. The ghost of one of the little boys still haunts the house as he has never been able to escape the place of his murder.
The Intruders is completely unoriginal and is similar to just about every other "gentle" ghost story I have ever read, with nothing to make it stand apart from the others. The characters are stereotypical, the events are predictable, and the writing is contrived. Richardson often ends chapters with mini cliffhangers or one line sentences that supposedly hook the reader but just bored this one. Even the thunderstorm-filled climax is routine.
I cannot think of any reason to recommend this book, except to the occasional 10-12 year old who likes formulaic mysteries and ghosts stories. The Intruders is perhaps a small step up from the Goosebumps series in terms of quality of writing, and it is possible that particular audience would enjoy the novel.
Jen Waters is the Teen Services Librarian at the Red Deer Public Library in Red Deer, AB.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.