Three words: Haunted, runaway train. DEAD ON ITS TRACKS stars Elizabeth and Jacob, two good friends who love scary movies. They're trying to see the latest one at the local cinema, a real screamer called Terror Train, but it's sold out. So what do they do instead? They go exploring at the old haunted train depot, of course! To their horror, the Fairfield Express starts to move once they're on it, and suddenly they're at the mercy of Odd John Cape, the insane engineer that supposedly (and purposely) crashed the train years and years ago.
This is, for whatever reason, another of those Strange Matters that I have very little recollection of, but I was pleasantly surprised at its quality. The entire plot basically revolves around the kids trying to stop the train before it replays its horrific crash while they're on-board. The author did a great job populating this tale with plenty of good characters that added a lot to the story (I particularly liked George, a tar-covered corpse who initially helps the protagonists, and Charlie, a behemoth waiter that protects a ghostly little girl and charges about, smashing things). The characters were better drawn than previous Strange Matters, and I thought that along with the nicely imagined backstory, they really contributed to rounding out the entire package.
There were also some nice twists towards the end of this book that make it stand out among other entries. I just felt that the story was well-developed and executed just the right way. This is like a Strange Matter sleeper hit! Nothing overly spectacular, but just really well-done.
I give DEAD ON ITS TRACKS a 4 out of 5.