Ameri-Scares: Legend of the Night Marchers by Patricia Lee Macomber
Crossroad Press (March 2023)
192 pages; $12.99 paperback; $3.99 e-book
Reviewed by Dave Simms
The Ameri-Scares series built by Elizabeth Massie has been one of biggest surprises in middle grade horror in the past decade. Stories based on legend, folklore, or creepy stories in every state rival the best of Goosebumps, and with serious geography and history. A couple of the authors allowed in her sandbox have proven themselves worthy.
First-timer Patricia Lee Macomber knocks it out of the park, luau-style with Legend of the Night Marchers. A horror tale in Hawaii? Absolutely! There’s a wealth of stories waiting to be mined in the state — yet Macomber goes for the different in the marchers that bring the creepy factor to the nth degree.
Jeremy and his family travel on vacation to the mysterious state but find something much more than sand and sun when his new friend Kai warns him of the titular legends. At first, he believes it to be a joke played on tourists. That night he sees something that frightens him: a line of ghostly warriors marching through the trees, carrying torches. He records the event, believing it to be a safe viewing and proof to show his family that he’s not telling tales.
Kai and his family inform him that if he looks at the marchers, they will come for him, leaving him dead.
Scared he will be the next victim, Jeremy enlists Kai and the expert at the cultural center, learning the spooky history of the night marchers and what they want.
Can he survive his trip and their their nightly approach?
Macomber straddles the line between scaring the heck out of younger readers and exposing them to the fascinating history of the culture and state. Yes, it’s geared toward middle grade audience but, like all the of the Ameri-Scares novels, this one will thrill both big kids and small. I expect plenty of parents will be sneaking this into darkened rooms to enjoy.