Maybe Archie Coomes has been watching too many horror movies. All of a sudden, the most ordinary things have taken on a sinister edge: a penny on a doormat. A man in a brown suit under a streetlamp. The persistent sound of an axe chopping in the middle of the night.
He keeps telling himself that this is Seaham, a sleepy seaside town where nothing ever happens. Or at least nothing did, until his dad's construction company opened up the cliff beneath the old - some say cursed - Langdon place.
Soon, though, he and his friends can't deny it: more and more of the adults in town are acting strangely. An ancient, long-buried evil has been unleashed upon the community, and it's up to the kids to stop it before it's too late...
I am not one to enjoy horror films, I tend to stay away from them when I can, but I appreciate a good, well written, spooky story - and that is what I managed to find here. Set in the 80's, we follow Archie and his group of friends as things start becoming a bit sinister and strange in their little seaside town. The book starts off with an introduction to three seemingly odd and not quite human men, before delving into the story of Archie, whose dad runs a construction business that has just had to put a hold on their current job, because it has uncovered a cave and is now, generally, unsafe. What the adults don't realize, and the kids slowly discover, something is under the hill, something that wants to be found, something that will spell trouble for everyone. Of course, as with any book aimed at this age group, the adults are pretty clueless, but at least they're not being treated like idiots.
The book focuses on Archie and his three friends as they become increasingly concerned with their parents no longer seeming normal and so enough they are being hunted down by the aforementioned three men. We get snippets from the three 'mens' point of view as they are working on reaching whatever is hidden under the hill, while also stopping the children from interfering in their plans. We get a little bit of town spooky history (has this happened before?) and some fun side characters like Randy, who runs the towns video store (enjoyed the complaints about people never rewinding their tapes before returning them). The characters were fun, a good old adventure story which had just the right amount of spook and unease.
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