by Anthony Horowitz
Matt, a troubled 14-year-old, goes a step too far and lands himself in England’s juvenile court system. He opts for a special rehab project that sends him to the countryside, only to find himself trapped in the creepy town of Lesser Malling by Mrs. Devrill whose evil intentions for Matt become quickly apparent.
Raven’s Gate opened well but then faltered. It had a solid premise and strong writing. Matt is a very well-developed character and Horowitz can really build a sense of danger that gets the pages turning.
But, I had two big problems with the book. First, it was almost a self-consciously boy-oriented story. There is absolutely no romance and very few female characters except for evil old ladies.
But its worst flaw is that it descends into random action at the end. In the best thriller stories, the action is surprising but makes sense. It arises out of the decisions of the characters. Too much in Raven’s Gate just seems to happen.
Raven’s Gate wasn’t for me. However, I suspect some readers might really enjoy this dark adventure. I consider Raven’s Gate to be “horror-light”—not as terrifying or gruesome as something Stephen King might write—but scary and evil enough to make for some chilling reading.
I haven’t read this one, but I’ve read all the others in this series. Horowitz originally wrote them in the 80s and then rewrote them. They get darker as they go and in the later ones he actually starts killing off the children. He also kills all 7 million citizens in Hong Kong – I wonder what his real-life Hong Kong wife thought of that.