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Everything is the same. The sudden disappearance of a child, the strange scent that frightens the bloodhounds, the utter lack of evidence. Seven years before, Seth Busby had disappeared in exactly the same way, and was never seen again. Police Chief Nick Catesby can't forgive himself for failing to find Seth, and it seems neither can the citizens of Wessex Township, New Jersey. This time, it could mean the end ...
Everything is the same. The sudden disappearance of a child, the strange scent that frightens the bloodhounds, the utter lack of evidence. Seven years before, Seth Busby had disappeared in exactly the same way, and was never seen again. Police Chief Nick Catesby can't forgive himself for failing to find Seth, and it seems neither can the citizens of Wessex Township, New Jersey. This time, it could mean the end of Nick's career.
Preston Howard claims he saw a strange, disfigured boy he dubbed Gabriel take Megan into the woods. Nick can't believe the preposterous, drunken story, and suspects Preston may be the kidnapper. But if Nick arrests Preston, he risks losing his chance at happiness with Preston's daughter, Fanny.
However, Gabriel, the terrifying boy-creature of the New Jersey Pine Barrens, isn't a drunken hallucination. He is awake, hungry, and very real. Gabriel won't be keeping to the forest paths, but is seeking his prey in the heart of Wessex Township itself. And this time, it isn't just the children he's thirsting for.
Posted October 15, 2012
As author of the Callie Parrish Mysteries, I write books about murder, but I LOVE reading horror as well, and THE THIRTEENTH CHILD is my kind of read! THE THIRTEENTH CHILD is a terrifying journey that will make the reader crazy with intrigue that turns to fear and then crashes into sheer horror. It’s not the usual roller coaster ride mentioned in many reviews. Instead, it’s a straight uphill trip in a police cruiser. David Dean doesn’t bog the reader down with info dumps of excessive backstory, and the characters come alive through their actions, thoughts, and feelings. Preston Howard, former college professor, current town drunk, befriends a feral boy named Gabriel who’s about fourteen years old. Gabriel may or may not be the seven-year-old boy who disappeared seven years ago, but one thing is sure—he’s dangerous as well as spooky. Preston becomes a person of interest and then a suspect in the recent abduction of a seven-year-old girl and two teenaged boys. Fanny, Preston’s daughter, fears for her father’s safety and for the future of her blossoming romance with Police Chief Nick Catesby who’s dealing with deceit and betrayal by a rogue cop who might cost Nick his job, the most important cases of his career, and his relationship with Fanny. The title, THE THIRTEENTH CHILD, doesn’t refer to the number of children who disappeared, were kidnapped, or murdered, but I won’t clue you in on its meaning. Read the book and find out. You’ll be glad you did.
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Posted December 31, 2013
Reviewed by Anne-Marie Reynolds for Readers' Favorite
The Thirteenth Child by David Dean is a gripping horror story that will leave you alternately with a bad taste in your mouth or wanting more. It’s the story of children who go missing on dark nights and an alcoholic ex-professor who witnesses the snatchings and becomes a prime suspect. It becomes a race against time for him to prove his innocence and stop the snatchings or serve time for a crime he didn’t commit. When he comes face to face with the perpetrator, he gets a little more than he bargained for as he discovers that something isn’t quite right. Things become even more difficult as the chief of police becomes involved with the professor's daughter and she finds herself dragged in with terrifying consequences.
The Thirteenth Child has to be one of the best-written horror books in a long time. It is one of those books that I just couldn’t put down; it gripped me from the very first page and took me on its roller-coaster journey, not stopping until the final terrible scene was played out. It is a fast-paced book, but not so fast that you cannot keep up with what’s going on. It is also very well written, getting straight to the point with none of the extraneous waffle you see in so many books these days. David Dean has given us a book that is sharp, edgy, and thrilling; an award-winning book if ever I have read one.