The Ghost Prison, by Joseph Delaney

The Ghost Prison is an illustrated novella from Joseph Delaney, author of the Spook's Apprentice series, perfect for horror loving readers of 11 or so who are looking for a nice, fast, spooky read.

15-year-old Billy rushes through the night-time streets on the way to his first job in the old castle prison, home to murderers, witches, and...ghosts.   His head is full of fearsome stories, but he reassures himself that as a guard, and not a prisoner, he'll be just fine.  And the money he earns will get him clear of the Home for Unfortunate Boys, and set him on a path to better things.

But then the prison overseer assigns to him the feeding of whoever, or whatever, is held down in the dark depths in the Witch Well....and Billy fails to follow the most basic rule of jail-keeping--"never leave your key in the lock."  With most unpleasant consequence...

At only 92 pages of story, plus 2 of epilogue, most of which are heavily illustrated in lots of lovely black and white detail by Scott M. Fischur, this is a quick read--which makes it excellent for the uncertain reader.   And the story is full enough of ghostly horror to keep any reader's attention, and the twist at the end was truly gripping.  For the faster reader, there might be some disappointment that there's not more to it, but that's the faster reader's problem, not the book's.

Warning:  The ending is really truly horrible horror, so not for the faint of heart.   Young, sensitive me might well have been disturbed by both the pictures and the story, but I would have read it anyway.

Disclaimer: review copy received from the publisher for Cybils review consideration. 


  1. Yeah, this is an ending that doesn't back off for the young audience. (I personally noted the length in my review mostly to point out that the hardcover price point doesn't offer much story for the buck. Library or paperback is a better way to go.)

    1. That's a good point--but I do think the hardcover, what with it's lavish illustrations, would make a nice Gift too!


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