Published 1st September 2016 by David Fickling Books
220 pages in hardback
Summary from Publisher’s website
It’s late. Dark. A boy rushes to catch a train, leaping aboard just before it pulls away. Suddenly he realises that it’s the wrong train. He’s annoyed, of course, but not scared.
. . . Yet.
He gets off at the next station, but the platform’s empty, and it doesn’t look like any station he’s seen before. But he’s still not scared.
. . . Yet.
Then a stranger arrives - someone with stories to help pass the time. Only these aren’t any old stories. These are nightmares, and they come with a price to pay.
. . . Scared yet?
You will be.
The handwritten compliments slip with my review copy says;
My advice is to read it with the lights firmly on!
This is wise advice – though one particular story in this eerie collection may make you feel differently. Certainly don’t read it at twilight on a nearly empty train halted in the Sussex countryside as I did – way too much like life imitating art.
The Wrong Train has a locomotive structure – an opening story as the engine that pulls along eight other tales linked like an assortment of due-to-be-retired carriages. There’s a goods van of an ending too – which leaves you alone on an abandoned platform in the middle of nowhere watching faint red lights disappear.
The effect of the progressively unsettling stories leads to a cumulative sense of dread. Not suitable for the easily unnerved. But for those of us who love a good scare (as opposed to gore and horror), The Wrong Train is ideal. I love how ghost stories unite readers of many ages – and this would sit well alongside any of Chris Priestley’s chilling Tales of Terror series.
The cover and illustrations by Dave Shelton reflect the contemporary setting – but the scares inside resist being dated. It will be read again by the courageous and the connoisseur. Perfect for the Halloween season - if you’re brave enough to go aboard.
“Not for passengers of a nervous disposition…”
K. M. Lockwood lives by the sea in Sussex - see the pics on Instagram. She fills jars with sea-glass, writes on a very old desk and reads way past her bedtime. Her tiny bed-and-breakfast is stuffed full of books - and even the breakfasts are named after writers. You're always welcome to chat stories with @lockwoodwriter on Twitter.