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The Dreadful Revenge of Ernest Gallen

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Overview

In the quiet town of Magnolia, someone is a’ haunting, making people do awfully weird things. Eugene knows because he’s being haunted, too. His friend Sonny’s dad walked right off of a building and fell to his death, and then another friend’s dad crashed his car into a tree. The same “specter” that was haunting them is inside Eugene, talking to him, telling him to do crazy things! Along with the help of their friend (conveniently, the daughter of the town’s newspaper editor) Eugene and Sonny pledge to get to the ...

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The Dreadful Revenge of Ernest Gallen

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Overview

In the quiet town of Magnolia, someone is a’ haunting, making people do awfully weird things. Eugene knows because he’s being haunted, too. His friend Sonny’s dad walked right off of a building and fell to his death, and then another friend’s dad crashed his car into a tree. The same “specter” that was haunting them is inside Eugene, talking to him, telling him to do crazy things! Along with the help of their friend (conveniently, the daughter of the town’s newspaper editor) Eugene and Sonny pledge to get to the bottom of the haunting. But not before uncovering a bigger mystery that will affect nearly every townsperson in sleepy little Magnolia…

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Pat Trattles
While walking home after playing baseball, Gene feels a tightness and bouncing in his chest. Then suddenly the feeling is accompanied by a voice from somewhere inside his head. Gene tries to ignore it at first, but over the course of the next several weeks the voice continues to haunt him. It tells Gene to kill his own grandfather in order to atone for a wrong that was committed many years before. Then, his best friend's father walks off a platform and plunges to his death, and the father of another friend is seriously injured when he drives his car into a tree for no apparent reason. Gene learns that both men had been visited numerous times by a voice urging them to kill themselves prior to their accidents. Suddenly, the stakes are much higher. Gene must save his grandfather before the voice totally takes over his mind and makes him into a killer. With the aid of his two friends, he sets out to discover what terrible secrets are hiding in the town's past, and why the voice is determined to destroy all those involved. Set during the depression, this unique ghost story is a satisfying page turner and will keep middle grade mystery fans engaged until the very end. Reviewer: Pat Trattles
School Library Journal

Gr 5-7

In this Depression-era tale set near St. Louis, Gene receives visits from some sort of specter, as if he is temporarily possessed by a presence that speaks to him in vague threats and riddles. When he learns that the death of his pal Sonny's father was preceded by a voice urging him to kill himself, Gene assumes that his specter is the same ominous being. This spirit urges him to solve a mystery many years old with little in the way of concrete clues. Gene gains the help of Sam, daughter of the local paper's editor, and the two find stories about the purchase of the old Toffey farm by oil speculator-con man, Ernest Gallen. Gene learns that the spirit of the con man wants revenge on the lynch mob that killed him as well as on Gene's grandfather, the judge who sent him to a low-security cell. The novel features mostly flat characterization and dialogue that subdue any real tension. Even the spookiest episode, in which the three kids explore the Toffey farmhouse and find a noose with a dressed skeleton on the floor, doesn't create an eerie atmosphere, and the story has several lapses in logic.-Suzanne Gordon, Peachtree Ridge High School, Suwanee, GA

Kirkus Reviews
Eugene Richards is rightly disturbed when a specter inhabits his body and tells him he must kill his grandfather to redress a wrong from many years ago. The specter has already forced Sonny's dad to walk off a platform and plunge to his death, and Sam's father to crash his car into a tree. An oil swindle, a lynching and a small town's coverup of a murder involving several of their own make for a spooky Depression-era mystery. Another layer to the tale is provided by a well-developed friendship among the three young protagonists, who learn to come together and find value in one another despite of their differences. The first-person narrative, fast-paced prose and careful plotting make this a satisfying page-turner. A good match with Sid Fleischman's The Entertainer and the Dybbuk (2007). (Fiction. 9-12)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781599902203
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
  • Publication date: 7/22/2008
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 240
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 640L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.42 (w) x 7.94 (h) x 0.88 (d)

Meet the Author


James Lincoln Collier has written many books for children, including Give Dad My Best and Planet Out of the Past. Mr. Collier has also contributed more than five hundred articles to the New York Times Magazine, Reader’s Digest, and Boy’s Life.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 27, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Sally Kruger aka "Readingjunky" for TeensReadToo.com

    Looking for a good mystery/ghost story? THE DREADFUL REVENGE OF ERNEST GALLEN will be a satisfying read. <BR/><BR/>Young Eugene "Gene" Richards feels a tightness in his chest. Then there is a strange sensation, like a motion wiggling in his center. What follows is the scariest thing - a voice begins to speak to Gene from somewhere inside. <BR/><BR/>Over the course of a few weeks, the strange feeling and the internal voice continue to visit Gene. The voice tells him a frightening tale. Gene learns that his beloved grandfather may have committed some unthinkable crime. According to the voice, back when Gene was very young, his grandfather and some other men in the small town of Magnolia got involved in a "get rich quick" scheme that ended in the lynching of a young man. It is beginning to appear that the voice haunting Gene's thoughts is the ghost of that young man looking for revenge. <BR/><BR/>At the same time Gene is wrestling with the mysterious voice and whether or not to involve his good friends, Sonny and Sam, Sonny's dad is killed in a freak accident, and Sam's dad is injured in an equally strange car accident. As the trio begins to dig into the mysteries of the past, they find numerous reasons to connect their fathers and Gene's grandfather to the vengeful ghost. <BR/><BR/>Although set in the years of the depression, readers will relate to the young detectives as they do their research at the local newspaper office and ask probing questions of reluctant relatives. Their persistence pays off as the mystery unfolds, and readers will keep turning the pages to learn the answers. THE DREADFUL REVENGE OF ERNEST GALLEN is an excellent choice for any middle grade collection.

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    Posted November 28, 2010

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