________________ CM . . . . Volume XIII Number 19 . . . . May 11, 2007


The Intruders.

E.E. Richardson.
New York, NY: Delacorte Press (Distributed in Canada by Random House of Canada), 2006.
196 pp., cloth, $21.00.
ISBN 978-0-385-73264-2.

Subject Headings:
Mystery and detective stories.

Grades 4-6 / Ages 9-11.

Review by Jen Waters.

* /4


Joel heard footsteps coming towards him across the hardwood floor: Cassie? Coming to apologize, or more likely to just try and badger him into agreeing with her side of things. "I said, leave me alone." He grimaced.

He opened his eyes … and saw that Cassie and the Wilders were still in the other room. Slowly, very slowly, his eyes were drawn to the left.

There was a dark shadow on the wall beside him – a shadow with nothing to cast it. The slim silhouette of a boy, far clearer and more sharply defined than his own blurred outline. As if there was a boy he couldn't see, standing directly in front of him…

Joel screamed.


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. 

Not Recommended.

Jen Waters is the Teen Services Librarian at the Red Deer Public Library in Red Deer, AB.


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