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Devil's Footsteps Hardcover – August 9, 2005


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers; 1st U.S. Ed. edition (August 9, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385732635
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385732635
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.8 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,715,323 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 6-9–The town of Redford, England, is haunted by nightmares, as though every child's worst fear is moments from coming true. Almost before they can speak, the youngsters learn the skipping rhyme that leads to the source of the evil: One in fire, two in blood/Three in storm and four in flood….Thirteen steps to the Dark Man's door/Won't be turning back no more. Five years earlier, Bryan watched his brother chant the words while jumping along 13 stones deep in the woods and no one has seen him since. His parents, like all of the local adults, are unable or unwilling to see the danger and find other excuses to explain the disappearance of numerous kids. Now 15-year-old Bryan and his friend, Stephen, must discover the truth behind the town's malevolent secret before the Dark Man claims Stephen's sister. The time-honored tale of children battling their nightmares can be rehashed repeatedly. However, this rendition does not stand up to the test. The author shows promise and this book has the beginnings of a great story, but the phrasing is occasionally awkward and doesn't always mesh within the context of the surrounding scenes. Some of the sentences are a bit overwritten, bogging down the pace of the narrative at crucial moments. Reluctant readers and horror fans will be attracted to the premise, but may get stalled midway.–Morgan Johnson-Doyle, Sierra High School, Colorado Springs, CO
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Gr. 8-11. The mythical bogeyman of the town of Redford is called the Dark Man. But 15-year-old Bryan knows there's more to the story than make-believe. Five years earlier, he watched the Dark Man take his brother. Bryan blames himself, and he feels alone in his bewildering fear until he meets two boys who have also been targets of the Dark Man's amorphous, supernatural wrath. Together the boys risk their lives to find and destroy the mysterious, murderous power that haunts their community. Richardson turns gnawing unease into bald terror with familiar (and sometimes violent) scary-movie conventions, such as a sinister, oft-repeated, singsong children's rhyme and a haunted house where blood drips from ceilings. Although these dramatic cliches create effective horror, they feel at odds with Bryan's clearly articulated survivor's guilt and the story's earnest philosophical questions about the nature of fear, evil, and death. Still, the intense, nightmarish conclusion brings some cohesion to the story's opposing moods, and teen fans of graphic supernatural horror will feel icy shivers as they vicariously discover all "the Dark Man's places." Gillian Engberg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
PaperBackSwap is a wonderful website and it’s where I was able to get this book. I tend to pile the whole of my Want list onto that website just in case one may pop up. It’s a good place for horror and I have to say I was pleased with what I read in DEVIL’S FOOTSTEPS.

Bryan is having a really hard time with life seeing how he still hasn’t coped with his older brother’s disappearance five years previous. His parents aren’t helping since they’re locked in their own world of melancholia and pay him little mind. But is this the tragedy’s doing or is something more sinister at work, forcing people to turn away from the problem, ignore it, while it continues on? Bryan and his friends, Stephen and Jake, work to figure this out and they may even get themselves in over their heads.

DEVIL’S FOOTSTEPS is definitely creepy, twisting a skipping rhyme into something sinister, something more than a school yard plaything and something that could potentially call up the devil. Like Bloody Mary, you’re fearless if you want to try and dispel the myth, however you may just end up disappearing in your effort. The things that these boys go through, mentally and physically, are things of nightmares. I liked the concept that Richardson kept coming back to, where small rooms distorted into something larger, cavernous, more difficult to escape. Almost agoraphobic in its application, being out of reach of safety when you know you’re in a small little cubby of space. She used this a lot (I shouldn’t say a lot but it was definitely more than once) and it came off as scary every time.

I also liked how this horror was far more psychological than anything else, and she wasn’t shy about warping the brains of these children to get across just how terrifying this all was.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on November 25, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I was browsing in my local bookstore and picked this up because of the cover. I wasn't expecting much it turned out to be surprisingly good. Although it's a kid's book the creep factor and actual scare quotients are high. In one exquisite scene the hero, Bryan and a buddy are running for their lives. They know that they are not imagining things, they know that if they slow down or fall they will die and they know that the adults in their town will not help and somehow don't want to know about the Dark Man. They are totally on their own. Scary stuff.

In some ways this book reminded me of It if It were written for a younger audience and cut out all the side stories.
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By Redhawk Readers on September 25, 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I enjoyed Devil's Footsteps for many reasons, but it lured me in mostly by the fear. This book built up a great sense of fear and abandonment within the reader. I felt as if I lived there in the moment, experiencing what they were seeing with their own eyes. This book receives five stars from me for its descriptiveness, cliffhangers, and portrayal of fear.
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