The Thirteenth Child Synopsis: Little Megan Guthrie has gone missing from Wessex Township, a small, peaceful New Jersey town—vanished from her schoolyard, practically from within view of her family home. And no amount of police effort has resulted in her return. Nick Catesby, Chief of Police, has no suspects, no evidence, and no time before a pair of teenagers turns up missing.
When disgraced professor and town drunk Preston Howard comes forward claiming he knows the truth about who or what has been taking the children, he becomes their prime suspect. Yet Preston insists that he is not the culprit but a witness to a strange and terrifying boy who appears only between dusk and dawn—a creature that lures children from their homes for his own dark purposes. Chief Catesby discards the story as the ranting of an alcoholic, until his suspect’s lovely daughter helps him discover a trail that leads back through three centuries of disappearances and murder. – Goodreads
The Thirteenth Child Review
The Thirteenth Child is a truly satisfying horror read. David Dean is talented with setting the scene, and right from the beginning the atmosphere of the novel is one that starts the back of your neck prickling. The evil attacking the town is interesting. Dean takes us back to a much scarier version of vampires, with one that is very animalistic yet undeniably evil. It is unrepentant, strong, fast, and hungry. It is also tricksy, manipulative, and fearful. An intriguing mix that combines to give you a ‘bad guy’ that scares you even more when you truly stop to consider him.
The characters are typical small-town to-dos for the most part, but that is part of their charm. The town drunk, Preston, is an incorrigible alcoholic with a PhD in English. As a result, he tends to sneer and put down people with an amusing eloquence that makes you want to slap him even as you smirk.
Overall, the pacing is great and the atmosphere is perfect. Dean’s writing sucks you in immediately, and even though romance is present, he doesn’t go overboard with it. Pretty much the only criticism I have is that I don’t feel the last chapter was really needed, but as that’s a common complaint of mine, it doesn’t mean much at all. I definitely recommend this book for horror fans looking for a quick but engrossing read.