When her mother is hospitalization for mental illness, Ashlyn Caverhill is crushed to be forced to go live with her grandmother in Prescott Junction, Maine. Nothing ever happens in this small, closed town. Nothing except for the ghost train that rolls through on the rusted lines on dark nights – the one the townsfolk pretend not to hear it as it comes to claim tortured souls.
This was a pretty creepy story. It reminded me a lot of Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes (one of my favorite books of all time). The books don’t have much in common except for the spooky supernatural element that lingers on every page in the book.
The story line was highly original in this book. There are several things going on at once. First, there is this ominous radio that has haunted generations of Caverhill women. You don’t know whether it is run by a force of evil or not until the end of the story. Then, there is the demonic train conductor that is determined to capture Ashlyn on his train. Those two supernatural elements are in constant motion while the other plots have their turn. For the romance lover, there are tons of smooches and a few hot moments between Ashlyn and her boyfriend, Caden. Although the insta-love aspect annoyed me a bit, I managed to overlook it.
The best part of this book was the character Rachel. She was the so-called “town witch.” However, she was far from a witch. While she did wear gothic like clothing and go out of her way to spook people in the small town, she had many secrets. She was the victim of horrible abuse at home, and her pain was evident in every word she spoke. I think of all the characters in the book, she was the best written and the most believable. I loved her.
I’m not a huge fan of horror fiction, but this one held my attention. There was enough suspense to keep me eagerly turning the pages until the very end. I even got a little misty eyed at some points in the story! I would give this one a solid 3 ½ flashlights, but since I don’t do half ratings, a three will have to do. There are some “harsh” words and sexual content that make this one suitable for the older YA reader.