A Tale of Sleepy Hollow
In this atmospheric, terrifying novel that draws strongly from "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow," the author of Alice and The Girl in Red works her trademark magic, spinning an engaging and frightening new story from a classic tale.
Everyone in Sleepy Hollow knows about the Horseman, but no one really believes in him. Not even Ben Van Brunt's grandfather, Brom Bones, who was there when it was said the Horseman chased the upstart Crane out of town. Brom says that's just legend, the village gossips talking.
More than thirty years after those storied events, the village is a quiet place. Fourteen-year-old Ben loves to play "Sleepy Hollow boys," reenacting the events Brom once lived through. But then Ben and a friend stumble across the headless body of a child in the woods near the village, and the discovery makes Ben question everything the adults in Sleepy Hollow have ever said. Could the Horseman be real after all? Or does something even more sinister stalk the woods?
The horror in this sequel to the classic Irving yarn from Henry (Near the Bone) isn't particularly fresh it's a straightforward monster-in-the-woods scenario but there's still plenty to keep the pages turning. Twenty years after the events of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, 14-year-old trans boy Ben Van Brunt is raised by his grandparents, the rollicking Brom "Bones" Van Brunt and prim Kristina Van Tassel, in the small New York town, his parents long dead in mysterious circumstances. Skylarking in the autumn woods, Ben witnesses village men conferring over the headless, handless body of another local boy. Later, Ben's sense of an eerie presence in his grandfather's fields is confirmed when he spies a creature sucking blood from a second victim. This monstrous evil is not the Horseman though Ben senses him, too, as a weird guardian with altogether different intentions. Uncovering those motivations, as well as his family history and why the evil haunts it, soon consumes every aspect of Ben's existence. Occasional wobbles of worldbuilding how are there residents Ben doesn't know in a one-street village? and the handling of Ben's gender identity, combined with flip-the-switch character development, tarnish but do not ruin the experience. Readers won't be wowed, but they will be entertained.