For those of you that have not heard about Patrick Carman’s Skeleton Creek series, you are in for a real treat. That is, if you like to be scared out of your shorts. Ghost in the Machine in the second book in this multimedia series, written by Patrick Carman and directed by Jeffrey Townsend. The story itself involves a small town that has a lot of history and holds a mystery deep within its past. Teenagers and best friends Ryan and Sarah work to uncover the mystery very stealthily, even when they are banned from even speaking to each other. You see, Sarah is a video expert and uploads videos of her discoveries to send to Ryan, all of which the reader gets to view as well. Kind of a cool concept, huh?
Let me tell you, these books are creepy. I had no idea what I was getting into with the first book, Skeleton Creek, and still didn’t learn my lesson with this one, as I let myself get scared silly while watching the videos and following the story in Ryan’s journal. I would consider the books to be middle grade books, but are definitely are not for the faint of heart.
The characters that Carman has created are fairly dynamic and most definitely well-written, with the help of the videos of course. The plot moves pretty quickly, but there are still relationships to be observed, mostly the friendship between Sarah and Ryan. While there is not a touch of romance between the two, young lady readers will enjoy the loyalty Ryan shows to Sarah and the fact that Sarah is the instigator of all of their adventures. Honestly, readers, the only complaint that I would make is that the online videos do isolate some readers without Internet access. Yes, libraries do offer free Internet, but these are not the kinds of videos you watch in the library. We might assume that all students these days have Internet access, but that is simply not true. Props to the author, director and producers for a very innovative conceptual series. If you have students or children that love a good mystery and can’t get away from a computer screen, put these books in their hands and they will be flipping pages like you have never seen them flip before.
Ghost in the Machine
Skeleton Creek #2
Written by Patrick Carman
Directed by Jeffrey Townsend
Published by Scholastic