Verdict: FREEING LINHURST: INTO THE TUNNELS delivers everything a young adult novel should: an engaging and clever teen hero and an imaginative, fast-paced story with just enough punk attitude to sweep just about any young reader into turning the pages.
Jack Alexander dismisses his dad, dreads his psychiatrist and hides from Danny Slater as FREEING LINHURST: INTO THE TUNNELS picks up after Freeing Linhurst, the first book in the series, explored the ghostly happenings around Linhurst State School and Hospital. Now turned into a care facility by Dr. Moseley, it’s been two years since Jack, Celia and Moseley discovered ghosts at the former mental hospital. Now, nightmares plague Jack, forcing him to relive a horror he’d rather forget. This new adventure brings chaos and catharsis to Jack, his family and friends.
Dr. Moseley needs Jack’s help, which he reluctantly gives. The doctor discloses he’s had dreams similar to Jack’s. Good friend Celia’s been having them, too. Soon, each of them discover their dreams are more than nightmares, and Moseley hires Ghost hunters, who amble into Linhurst with an array of equipment and plenty of attitude.
Author Al Cassidy weaves an exciting new Linhurst tale. The novel’s pacing keeps the reader transfixed on this engaging ghost story. Cassidy unveils new otherworld characters with heartbreaking backstories that underscore the terror unleashed on Linhurst patients decades ago. Shifting in and out of the real and nether worlds, Jack and his companions fight to right the wrongs of the facility’s past while saving themselves in a thrilling plunge into the tunnels.
Cassidy parallels the supernatural with the normal despair of Jack’s life – especially his strained relationship with his father. He deftly portrays Jack’s dad as a caring and kind widower who understands the stresses in his son’s life. Jack, concurrently, gives us the typical teenager pose against his dad’s kindness: leave me alone. The supernatural dreams keep him stuck in the past. And at school, other kids ostracize him, a direct result of the original Linhurst strangeness coupled with the ability of cliques to pick on kids who are different. But Jack endures, and Dr. Moseley needs help. Bravely, Jack, his friends and the ghost hunters search for answers. They slowly solve the puzzle of what’s happening while confronting their fears.
FREEING LINHURST: INTO THE TUNNELS delivers everything a young adult novel should: an engaging and clever teen hero and an imaginative, fast-paced story with just enough punk attitude to sweep just about any young reader into turning the pages.
~Greg Rideout for IndieReader