Thursday, October 6, 2011

Morgan Roehmar's Boys by Vivian Vande Velde

**1/2(out of four stars)

Morgan Roehmar's Boys by Vivian Vande Velde is yet another ghost story in her anthology book, All Hallows' Eve.

Ashley is working for a haunted hayride at Cristanis Family Farm. The hayride is located on the same spot, where decades earlier serial killer, Morgan Roehmar, killed and buried young men. Now the new owners have revamped the place and have no interest in rehashing the horrible events that once occurred on the property. They just want to have fun with the hayride during the most festive time of the year. A storm hits and the hayride is momentarily on hold. Soon, after a bout of lightning, Ashley's headset fails to work. What surrounds her is a bunch of fake props featuring dead bodies and such. But Ashley isn't alone in this barn. Somebody else is in there with her. With her headset out of whack, she begins to freak out once she starts to notice the ghost of a young man lingering about in the barn.

Ashley doesn't want to believe that the boy is a ghost. However, he is a ghost and he's talking with her, telling her that he was killed and that, although most of Roehmar's victims had been recovered, his body was never found. Vande Velde often brings up the question: Could a ghost still linger on, in the same form long after death?

I don't know. I can't answer that question.

But I can tell you that the story's final twist is pretty good. Poor trustworthy Ashley is lead over by the boy who turns out to be the resurrected serial killer, Morgan Roehmar. Roehmar has taken form of his seven or eight year old self. Ashley is strangled and killed. The serial killer anticipates more victims before the night is over.

There you have it. Yes, another ghost story delivered by Vivian Vande Velde. I've got to say this right off the bat. Some of these stories are for any type of reader. Although the subject matter in this one may be a little unsuitable for the "teen" readers. It's not really the story that's all that creepy but where the story derives from. After reading this I assume this story is heavily influenced by the murders of John Wayne Gacy, who like the fictitious Morgan Roehmar, actually tricked young boys into trusting him, tied them up, killed them - then buried them beneath the house where he lived. Gacy was put to death in 1994 (or '95, can't remember) and thankfully he has not been resurrected.

This story mainly focused on the basis of the farm's past. Although there wasn't much to the character's, Vande Velde does a good job of setting up Morgan's past. When Morgan was finally caught (after his girlfriend ratted on him) he commits suicide. The only question that I have is exactly how he became resurrected. Maybe I missed something. I'd have to say that if you're into these types of stories, check this one out. So far it's the better of the three that I've read.

Three stories down and ten more to go.

Author: Vivian Vande Velde

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.


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