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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

"The Stone Child" by Dan Poblocki with Bonus Q/A with the author (Reviewed by Mihir Wanchoo)


Official Dan Poblocki Website
Order The Stone Child Here

Book & Author Information:

This is Dan Poblocki's debut effort. The arc I have received stands at 274 pages & it is divided into 18 chapters with an epilogue. All the chapters are set in the third person narrative. The chapters are all from the perspective of Eddie, the main protagonist of the tale. The author confesses to be a storyteller since his childhood with an active imagination & this book is probably the first of many more books to come.

Overview/Analysis:

"The Stone Child" features Eddie Fennicks, a young boy who moves into the small town of Gatesweed. He's a normal kid with one addiction: he's heavily into the books of Nathaniel Olmstead, an author who writes horror-mystery books. Sadly after writing a lot of books Nathaniel Olmstead has disappeared. No one knows where & then things start going a bit weird in Gatesweed leading to speculation about the "Olmstead curse"

Eddie moves in with his parents in this town due to certain decisions on his parents' part. He then immediately discovers that this is the same town which is featured in almost all of N.Olmstead's books. He also finds the house in which Nathaniel resided & which is now broken down due to neglect. His mother then gifts him a book which Eddie realizes is the last book written by his favorite author though it never got published & to top it, it's also written in some type of code language which vexes Eddie to no end.

He then meets two other kids, who then go about uncovering the mystery behind the author's disappearance & also try to find out what is the curse which seems to afflict the town& its residents. Their efforts take them may places like Olmstead's old home & other places mentioned in his books. They also have to deal with certain creatures which eerily match those found in the books. Lastly there's also the Lady who seems to be foreshadowing Eddie & probably knows what happened to Nathaniel Olmstead.

Dan Poblocki has written an engaging & rather straight forward mystery YA novel. The actual plot is not so complex and most readers will be able to figure it out. However the author has written it in such a way that it holds the reader's attention throughout the novel till the end & then delivers a small surprise to cap the tale.


I think I would have enjoyed this book more if I was younger. I liked it to a certain extent, however my enjoyment was curtailed by the fact that this was a YA book which had certain nuances associated with it. The author does have a very active imagination & has created some truly scary situations & creatures within the set up of the story. I also enjoyed the story within the story effect which was due to Eddie & his friends reading through certain sections of their favorite books. This is a very good freshman effort & I look forward to the future efforts of Mr. Poblocki & if he does write an adult horror book, I'll be the first in line to read it based on the potential shown in his debut.






Bonus Q/A with Dan Poblocki

1] For the benefit of readers, could you introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about yourself?

I'm Dan Poblocki, the author of The Stone Child. I grew up in Rhode Island and New Jersey, but now I live in Brooklyn, NY. I'm always reading and writing and doodling. I love taking trips outside of the New York City, but while I'm here, I love going to all sorts of movies and plays and museums. It's a fun life.

2] How did you get started in writing? & Could you share with us your experience of getting published?

I've always loved telling stories to my friends, but I started getting serious about writing after I graduated from Syracuse University with a theater degree, moved to New York, and worked many, many temp jobs. Writing made me feel grounded. A few years later, I joined a writing group with some friends who worked in publishing. The manuscript I was working on caught the attention of some Random House editors... I worked on the manuscript for about another year, and they eventually made me an offer to write a couple books for them. The Stone Child grew out of that offer.

3] What was the spark of inspiration which lead to the genesis of "The Stone Child"

My home town in New Jersey was filled with spooky places. I heard much local folklore about the haunted library, or the lone oak tree in the middle of the farm field, or the big stone mansion up on the hill. When I would go back and visit, I often thought, what if a writer lived in this town and he used all these places as inspiration. Then I thought, what if the stories weren't just folklore? What if the legends were true? What would it be like to live in that town?

4] What are you aiming for with this book

I loved the John Bellairs mysteries when I was a kid. I read them over and over. My aim for The Stone Child was to create a story that someone would want to revisit, not only as a child, but as an adult. I'll still pick up a John Bellairs book every now and again. They're spooky, but the characters are so endearing, I love spending time with them.

5] What are your plans for the future?

I'm in the process of editing another mystery novel right now. I also have a few other projects in the works. Hopefully we'll see them start to materialize next year!

4 comments:

Charlotte said...

This one is on my list!

Anonymous said...

Hi Dan, I have not read your book but I remember you and your family when you lived in R.I. To be specific when you lived in Woonsocket. Your mother is Gail, your father is John and you have a brother Brandon, sister Emily. We lived across from each other on Bluestone Drive. My family moved to Oklahoma in 1978. Your family must be so proud of you and your ability to write books. Good luck on all your books and Blessings to you. Say hi to your mom and dad for me. Beverly Moran. email: okbam39@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

Hi have read your book "The Nightmarys".I loved . I recomended to all the peolpe. I read it in 2 days and I am going to buy "The Stone Child". My friends tell my that the book is to awsome. I really love the books that have fiction,ghost,Vampires and action.

Anonymous said...

ive read the stone child and its pretty creepy and awesome but i wanted to know if nathaniel olmstead was a real author or not

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