What if the monsters from your favorite horror books were real?
Eddie Fennicks has always been a loner, content to lose himself in a mystery novel by his favorite author, Nathaniel Olmstead. That's why moving to the small town of Gatesweed becomes a dream come true when Eddie discovers that Olmstead lived there before mysteriously disappearing thirteen years ago. Even better, Eddie finds a handwritten, never-before-seen Nathaniel Olmstead book printed in code and befriends Harris, who's as much an Olmsteady as he is. But then the frightening creatures of Olmstead's books begin to show up in real life, and Eddie's dream turns into a nightmare. Eddie, Harris, and their new friend, Maggie, must break Olmstead's code, banish all gremlins and monster lake-dogs from the town of Gatesweed, and solve the mystery of the missing author, all before Eddie's mom finishes writing her own tale of terror and brings to life the scariest creature of all.
Twelve-year-old Eddie and his family are driving to their new home in Gatesweed when their car hits a monster-like animal in the road near the home of Nathaniel Olmstead, writer of Eddie's favorite books about the supernatural. Olmstead has been missing for thirteen years and is blamed for the curse that causes mysterious happenings in the town. Eddie's mother gives him a book, The Enigmatic Manuscript, written by Olmstead in code, which she had found at an antique fair. Thus begins Eddie's determination to crack the code and find out what happened to Olmstead. Meanwhile Eddie is living in an increasingly nightmarish world in which he and his new friends are chased by monsters and haunted by the foreboding figure of a woman in black. Poblocki builds upon the myth of Lilith, Adam's first wife, associated with the darkness of the world to which she is banished. The statue of a stone child near Olmstead's property is a gate between the real world and the world from which the monsters associated with Lilith emerge. There are stories within stories (all in longhand) as the friends search for clues from Olmstead's novels and from the book discovered in Olmstead's house in which he had written down how he obtained the pendanta key to the gate. The novel, packed with encounters with supernatural beings, has little depth and deals superficially with the mythical material. It might appeal to younger teens who enjoy reading about the supernatural in a gothic style mystery story. Reviewer: Hilary Crew