The Headless Horseman is back!
A gang of middle school misfits. An occult ritual. A legendary spirit from America’s past.
What could possibly go wrong?
On Halloween night, Derek Houseman, recent arrival to the Sleepy Hollow region of upstate New York, joins a group of classmates for an evening of trick or treating. They also have plans to perform a ritual that’s gone viral online. A ritual that just might work …
When the Headless Horseman rises from the grave for his annual ride across the countryside, empowered by the gang’s spiritual meddling, it’s up to Derek and the rest of the Sleepy Hollow Gang to stop him.
Can they survive the night or will they lose their heads?
Middle-Grade horror is often sadly underlooked, but it’s where so many horror writers and fans get their start. Quality throughout the genre is scarcely unheard of, but Robert Ottone repeatedly proves himself one of the best. His latest, “The Sleepy Hollow Gang,” is a sly and suspenseful story that delivers the frights and thrills while never talking down to its audience.
Ottone simply loves the Legend of Sleepy Hollow, the classic American ghost story that introduced the image of the Headless Horseman, the ghoulish spirit that roams the world one night of the year to seek his lost head-or take another innocent’s as a substitute. A group of youngsters end up running afoul of the Horseman and unite to take him down on All Hallows, the most frightening night of the year.
The best word to describe the book would be “charming.” Ottone writes with heart and humor, presenting likable and well-fleshed out characters who feel like kids. Like many of his contemporaries, Ottone also knows the best way to deliver horror for younger readers is to not talk down to or patronize them. “The Sleepy Hollow Gang” pulls few punches and ensures the danger is real.
But just because children can die, doesn’t mean they will. Ottone keeps the pages turning with aplomb, and the suspense is enhanced specifically because of how the reader wants to see the character’s triumph. One of Ottone’s best thus far, and one can only look forward to when the Horseman shall ride again.