Randy Briley's talent continues to amaze me. I reviewed his picturebook not long ago, if you recall. And then I got myself a copy of his short novel, Mr. Underneath. I would place this book for ages 9 or 10 and up.
All I could think while I was reading it was, I would have been putting this one in a place of honor on my shelf when I was a kid. I LOVED this kind of thing when I was young, and it's so hard to find a creepy, but not too scary book done well. (I haven't read 'Coraline', I know there are some great creepyish kiddo books out there that I have yet to read!) This one is legitimately creepy, but doesn't go over the edge.
I was super impressed with the world that was created in this book. For a relatively short novel, it was densely packed with all sorts of bizarre creatures, BAD FAIRIES, ghouls, gnomes (wait till you find out what's up with the gnomes), robotic monsters (or are they?) and a shapeshifting girl who aids the young hero in his quest to rescue his parents from Mr. Underneath, who is.....just bad.
So I'm like, supposed to be an adult right? And my heart was racing during certain scenes! (The keys! The keys!) The pacing was just right, and I was really struck by the amount of little details that Briley infuses into his writing. This is a fun one, my spookies, and just right for autumn!