From School Library Journal
Grade 5-8 This third entry in the series continues the adventures of Zach Jennings, who has the uncanny ability to see and talk with ghosts. His entrance into sixth grade is complicated by the brain-eating zombie that sleeps under the school guarding a Confederate treasure trove for a voodoo-practicing ghost waiting to take over the body of an unsuspecting child. With a maze of tunnels under it, a cemetery behind it, and guardian ghosts wandering through it, this middle school is far worse than most. Murders are committed in the quest for the treasure, but the creepiness tends to be so over-the-top, and there is so much humor in the book, that the evil is mitigated. Zach is a likable character, resigned to his ghost-seeing abilities and often trying to connect with his inner superhero. He's also nervous about the new school, realistic about his status there, and wants to make friends and avoid the school bully. With its short chapters, Smoky Corridor
might appeal to some reluctant readers, but there are a lot of characters, including ghosts, to keep track of, and the plot is full of twists and turns that could be confusing. Grabenstein is a riveting storyteller most kids won't be able to put this book down. Its appeal will be wide, as it is a mystery, a thriller, a ghost story, a school story, an action adventure, and a humorous book. It can stand alone, although reading the earlier titles does provide some pertinent background information. Connie Tyrrell Burns, Mahoney Middle School, South Portland, ME
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The latest in the Haunted Places Mystery series (the first, The Crossroads, 2008, won both the Anthony and Agatha awards) once again stars middle-schooler Zack Jennings, who is beset by ghostly visitations. He is starting a new school—well, actually, a really old one, sort of an antebellum Hogwarts built by an eccentric Civil War steamboat captain—filled with crazy corridors, the ghosts of two boys who died in a fire, and zombies. This has all the mordant wit, rollicking action, and grossness any middle-schooler could want. Fans will want to check out Grabenstein’s other frightfests. Grades 5-8. --Connie Fletcher