Westwood, Chris: Ministry of Pandemonium.
(A) WESTWOOD, Chris Ministry of Pandemonium Frances Lincoln, 2011 372pp $16.95 pbk ISBN 9781847801906 SCIS 1508170
Ben and his mother have just shifted--again--to a new neighborhood. Starting at a new school is difficult, especially when you are considered weird, and Ben's only potential friend is Becky. Becky knows that Ben saw something ghostly in their classroom because she could sense it as well. Things become stranger when Ben meets Mr October in a dark alley and discovers the Ministry of Pandemonium, a group of gifted people charged with leading the newly-departed towards a peaceful transition to the other side. Their enemies--the Cadaverus clan--try to claim the souls first, trapping them in nowhere. Mr October recognises Ben's gift and apprentices him to the Ministry but those who choose that side make dire enemies of the other. Ben fears for the safety of his mother. Becky joins Ben in the House of Pandemonium and, with Mr October, spends evenings attending to the list of people about to die. When Ben's mum's name appears ...
The first in a proposed series, Ministry is a horror story with clever threads of plot that make it hard to put down. Ben, Mr October and friends are very likable characters whose adventures with the newly-departed should be gory but are more interesting than blood thirsty. This black edged book has great appeal. Highly recommended.