Misleading Trains? The Wrong Train by Jeremy de Quidt
I was eleven, maybe twelve, visiting with my cousins, three boys all with names beginning with J. I remember sitting in one of the boys' rooms (Jason? Jeremy?) and reading aloud from my favorite book, an anthology of horror stories for children. I recall the dark paneling of his room, the gathering clouds outside, and the delicious chill as I read the line, "In the darkness his fingers closed around the bloody stump of where her head had been." I heard my cousin gasp. He would then beg me to read the next and the next and the next until my voice gave out completely.
The Wrong Train by Jeremy de Quidt came up as a novel in my search for newest teen horror, but is actually a collection of short stories with a thin thread of a storyteller and an abandoned train platform to connect them. Clever way to tie up a short story collection, to be sure, and the book has a fun “choose your own adventure” feel toward the end. But it wasn't the novel I was expecting. Still a thoroughly creepy read that I tried—hard—not to think about during baby's middle-of-the-night feeding.
I wonder why it wasn't more clear (even remotely discernible) that the book was a collection of stories? I'll admit, since I was looking specifically for novels I probably wouldn't have picked this one up had I known, yet I might have because of those chilling moments with other horrifying shorts. At the very least I know I would have appreciated knowing what I was getting into instead of a bait and switch confusion at first.