Review of "Wicked Cruel" by Rich Wallace

Three short stories to scare the wits out of young and old alike



"Urban legends" — that's what author Rich Wallace calls the stories in his latest book, "Wicked Cruel" [Alfred A. Knopf, $16.99]. Released just in time for Halloween, the book takes creepy stories that get passed around by kids and turns them into well-told tales that get creepier by the page. The fact that they are tantalizingly plausible (that's what an urban legend is after all) makes them creepier yet.

In the first story, "Wicked Cruel," a boy who had been bullied dies and seems have come back to haunt his tormentors. In the second "The Horses of Brickyard Pond," a long-dead team of horses appears at opportune moments. And the last, "Rites of Passage," five children in one family die young — by murder or by accident we don't know — but one of them is not yet gone.

The stories are set in a place familiar to Granite Staters — Keene, renamed Cheshire Notch, "a place where kids grow up aware of the many spirits in their midst." You read about the Pumpkin Festival, Keene State College, the Wyman Tavern and the Colonial Theater, though they too are renamed.

"Wicked Cruel" is intended to be a children's book, but the themes it deals with — bullying, loneliness, guilt, atonement, life and death — are applicable to all ages.  

Kirkus Reviews gives "Wicked Cruel" a star and calls it "wicked good." It is good, especially when read by firelight on a cold Halloween night.

 

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags

Calendar

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Popular Articles

  1. Guide to the best sledding hills in NH
    We have tips on finding the best hills, great sleds from the plastic to the high-tech, tubing...
  2. Our favorite cafés in New Hampshire
    Coffee shops build communities with a warm welcome and a creative jolt. Here’s the “crema”...
  3. The Power of Platelets
    Platelet-rich plasma therapy can remedy tough-to-treat injuries
  4. 2014 It List
    These influential Granite Staters represent the arts, philanthropy, business, the local food...
  5. More and more seniors are going mobile
    You can take it with you after all, just as long as your recreational vehicle is your house
  6. Life for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles began in Dover
    Did you know that the idea fierce fighters was born in the Granite State?
  7. Shop local: gift ideas for the food lover in your life
    The perfect present is sweet or savory...and quickly consumed. Plus, you can find many of them at...
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags