Ghost Detectors Volume 1: Let the Specter-Detecting Begin, Books 1-3

Ghost Detectors Volume 1: Let the Specter-Detecting Begin, Books 1-3

by Dotti Enderle, Howard McWilliam

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Malcom and Dandy are best friends. But these two boys aren’t your average ten-year-olds. When the boys get their hands on an Ecto-Handheld-Automatic-Heat-Sensitive-Laser-Enhanced Specter Detector, their adventures as Ghost Detectors begin. In this first volume of three stories, Malcom and Dandy thwart a practical-joking poltergeist, rid the Miller house of a… See more details below

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Malcom and Dandy are best friends. But these two boys aren’t your average ten-year-olds. When the boys get their hands on an Ecto-Handheld-Automatic-Heat-Sensitive-Laser-Enhanced Specter Detector, their adventures as Ghost Detectors begin. In this first volume of three stories, Malcom and Dandy thwart a practical-joking poltergeist, rid the Miller house of a ghost, and get to the bottom of some unusual paranormal activity in their elementary school. It may sound strange, but it’s just the everyday work of a Ghost Detector! Readers love the humorous detective adventures and learn a number of ghost-detecting tips!

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"In this fast-paced chapter book, two ten-year-old ghost detectives, Malcom and Dandy, go on some very daring adventures with their mail-ordered, handy dandy “Ecto-Handheld-Automatic-Heat-Sensitive-Laser-Enhanced Specter Detector.” The story is humorous, witty, exciting and scary – a perfect adventure for middle readers." — Smart Books for Smart Kids

Selected for The Children's Book Review 2013 Books for Halloween & Beyond List

" will want to make sure you pick this book up." — City Book Review, 5 Stars

Previous Reviews for ABDO Publishing Group series:
"...these early chapter books are sure to delight fans of Dan Greenburg's Secrets of Dripping Fang (Harcourt) or Dave Keane's Joe Sherlock (HarperCollins) series." — School Library Journal, review of It Creeps! and I'm Gonna Get You!, 2009

"...a great new series to offer reluctant readers. ...The gross humor and boy problems of this book will make it a hit with boys..." — Library Media Connection, review of It Creeps! and Tell No One!, 2010

Praise for It Creeps and Tell No One!:
"This is a great new series to offer reluctant readers . . . . The gross humor and boy problems of this book will make it a hit." — Library Media Connection

Children's Literature - Mary Thompson
Malcolm uses his family's basement for his many experiments with the help from his sometimes reluctant best friend, Dandy. He lives with his parents, older sister, Cocoa, and their Grandma Eunice. After his plan to fuse coins together to help the U.S. economy is a bust, Malcolm spies an ad in one of his favorite magazines, "Beyond Belief," for an Eco-Handheld-Heat-Sensitive-Laser-Enhanced Specter Detector. This is the coolest invention he has seen yet. When his package finally arrives, he and Dandy plan on using it to hunt ghosts in the neighborhood haunt, the Freaky McBleaky house. The two boys get more than they bargained for when the Specter Detector actually works and a ghost follows them back home. This is the perfect choice for reluctant readers especially young boys who would rather hole up indoors with a chemistry set or experimenting than playing outside. There are black-and-white illustrations peppered throughout and preview of the next two books which will bring readers back for more spooky fun. Book one in the "Ghost Detectors" series. Reviewer: Mary Thompson
School Library Journal
Gr 3–6—A book for children who don't want their scary fiction to be too scary and who enjoy liberal doses of corny humor. Malcolm and Dandy, both 10, are best buds who share a love of adventure. Malcolm has a penchant for quirky science tools that usually don't work so the boys are surprised to find that his recently purchased Ecto-Handheld-Automatic-Heat-Sensitive-Laser-Enhanced Specter Detector actually functions. The boys decide to unleash the ghost of Herbert McBleaky. Unfortunately, the loony, prank-loving ghost follows them home and terrorizes Malcolm's sister. It is after this incident that Malcolm realizes he must send off for the companion implement, which includes a ghost zapper, because once he detects a ghost, he needs to get rid of it. The two other stories follow a similar format, with funny escapades, slight suspense, and ghost encounters. This book could be used as an introduction to the scary, comedic genre in the vein of meatier titles such as James Howes's Bunnicula (Atheneum, 1979) or Roald Dahl's The BFG (Viking, 1985). Black-and-white cartoons enhance the story, and a fun list of the top 15 ways to detect a ghost, spirit, or poltergeist is included at the end.—Julie Shatterly, W.A. Bess Elementary School, Gastonia, NC

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Product Details

Scarletta Press
Publication date:
Ghost Detectors Series, #1
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.60(d)
560L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Dotti Enderle was born in Killeen, Texas, and despite being labeled a “reluctant reader” as a child, grew up to write and publish dozens of books for children. Storytelling is in her blood, and she has entertained at numerous schools, libraries, museums, and festivals since 1993. She takes pride in her vast collection of original stories and folk tales, and specializes in participation stories, which allow her audience to join in the fun. Today, you’ll find her reading, writing, and smiling in Houston, Texas.

Howard McWilliam left his day job as a financial journalist and editor in late 2005 to pursue his love of illustrating. Now, he illustrates regularly for a wide range of magazines and newspapers, including The Daily Telegraph and The Week. He branched into illustrating children’s books in 2009 and has illustrated multiple titles including I Need My Monster, When a Dragon Moves In, the Alfie the Werewolf series, and more. He lives in Kingston Upon Thames, England, with his wife, Rebecca.

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Read an Excerpt

From book 1, It Creeps!
Chapter 9: Sneaking Out—Sneaking In

Grandma Eunice’s story was meant as a warning. But, it just confirmed what Malcolm already knew. The McBleaky house was definitely haunted!

Malcolm’s luck was running high. His mom and sister came home early, and Mom went straight to bed, complaining of a headache.

The two boys took their sleeping bags to the basement, claiming they’d sleep down in the lab. Malcolm locked the basement door and pulled out a backpack he’d packed that afternoon.

“What’s in there?” Dandy asked.

“Everything we’ll need to detect a ghost,” Malcolm answered.

“Don’t we just need the specter detector?”

Malcolm rolled his eyes. “And a flashlight and a tape recorder and a camera.”

“What about a snack?”

“Dandy, honestly, why would we need a snack?”

“In case we get hungry.”

Malcolm couldn’t believe it. Dandy was serious. “We’re not going to get hungry. We won’t be there long enough to get hungry! And if you happen to get hungry, maybe the ghost will be polite and offer you something to eat.”

Dandy shrugged. “Okay.”

Malcolm opened the skinny basement window, climbed up on a chair and slithered out. He looked back in at Dandy. “You’re not going to chicken out, are you?”

Dandy hopped up on the chair. “I’m right behind you.”

And Dandy stayed right behind Malcolm the whole way. About three feet back, dragging the soles of his sneakers and biting his fingernails.

Malcolm had the jitters too. Partly from fear, partly from excitement. He had to be brave. This was his one shot at fame. If he could detect a ghost, record it, and capture it on film, he’d be written up in every major newspaper in the country . . . make that in the world! He wished he’d brought the video camera.

The McBleaky house stood just ahead of them, like a black hole ready to suck them in. Malcolm could hear Dandy’s teeth chattering. Once they were hidden by the towering weeds, Malcolm pulled out the flashlight and clicked it on. A circle of white light hit the porch, and Malcolm saw an army of tiny critters skittering into the shadows.

Dandy gulped loudly when they reached the door. “Are you sure we should go in there? That’s trespassing.”
“Who would come and arrest us?” Malcolm asked. “Even the cops are afraid of this place.”

Dandy grabbed Malcolm’s shoulder. “Shouldn’t that tell you something? If cops are afraid, then what are a couple of dumb kids like us doing here?”

Malcolm set the backpack down and pulled out his specter detector. “This,” he said with pride. “Now, do as I say, and don’t be a baby.”

The door opened easily. Eeeeeeeeek.

Malcolm stepped in, turned on the specter detector, then pointed the flashlight at his watch. “It’s warming up.”

Dandy still had a death grip on Malcolm’s shoulder. “I have to use the bathroom.”

“No, you don’t,” Malcolm said, not taking his eyes off his watch. “Two minutes, that’s all it’ll take.”

The house was still and quiet. The only noises were the ticking of Malcolm’s watch and Dandy’s ragged breathing. They waited. Tick. Tick. Tick.

Something moved in the corner. Malcolm whipped the flashlight around and stabbed the darkness. A mouse scurried across and disappeared into a crack.

Only one minute. He counted the seconds silently, one Frankenstein, two Frankenstein, three Frankenstein. Dandy’s grip had become a serious squeeze, but in less than a minute they’d be on the move.

When the second hand hit the two minute mark, Malcolm reached for the switch. “You ready?” he asked Dandy.

Dandy stood paralyzed. Malcolm figured he wasn’t going to get an answer, and flipped the specter detector to Detect. The green light flashed off, and the gold light flashed on. But only for a second. The light then blinked off and on with a steady bleep—bleep—bleep.

“Not much activity right now,” Malcolm said, turning to look back at Dandy. Dandy’s eyes were wide open. His lips looked blue, even in the brassy hue of the flicking specter detector light.

“Just stick with me,” Malcolm said, although he figured Dandy wasn’t thinking for a second of venturing off on his own. Malcolm took slow baby steps, tiptoeing across the floor, Dandy’s hand still gripping him.

Dandy never lifted his feet. He skated behind Malcolm, without a breath.

Malcolm kept the flashlight pointed in his left hand, the detector in his right. As they approached the fireplace, two eyes peered down at them.

“What?” Malcolm sputtered, whipping the light toward the mantle. Just an ugly giant moose head, hung up like a trophy. Malcolm took a moment to breathe and gather everything that was just scared out of him.
When they reached a spiral staircase, Malcolm whispered to Dandy, “Reach in my backpack and turn on the tape recorder. Then pull out the camera and turn on the flash.”

Dandy never said a word. He obeyed Malcolm, but took forever doing it because of his nervous fumbling. And even though Malcolm tried to stand still, the light from the flashlight danced all over the foot of the staircase. But Malcolm was patient. He had to be. He hadn’t told Dandy, but he’d stay here all night if he had to.

As it turned out, he didn’t have to wait long. Like a fisherman hoping for a catch, Malcolm had a bite. The gold light blinked faster.


Both boys froze, staring down at the rapid signal. The beam from the flashlight bent and flickered. Then something brushed the hairs on Malcolm’s neck. A voice, as thin as the wind, whispered in Malcolm’s ear.

“It creeeeeeeeps.”

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