Gr 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 2006 Reed Business Information.