Police Chief Nick Catesby has been haunted for seven years by the unsolved disappearance of a young boy from his peaceful New Jersey town seven years before. When Megan Guthrie goes missing from her school playground, followed quickly by two teenage boys, Nick’s nightmare begins anew. He has only one suspect, disgraced professor and town drunk Preston Howard, whose arrogance has left him with nothing more than his pride, a sea of whiskey, and his exasperated daughter, Fanny, with whom Nick is falling in love. Preston insists that he is not the culprit. Instead, Chief Catesby should seek out Gabriel, the strange and terrifying boy who appears only between dusk and dawn. Nick wants to ignore the old alcoholic’s rantings, but Preston’s story rings true when sightings of the boy lead to a trail of missing and murdered children going back three centuries. Now Nick and Preston must race to stop the Gabriel before more children are sacrificed to his ravenous appetite.
Praise for The Thirteenth Child
With The Thirteenth Child, David Dean has pulled off both the creation of a new kind of monster, and a fine and unnerving novel around that creation. Gabriel, the ancient, murderous creature at the book's heart, is by turns frightening, pathetic, and genuinely otherworldly, and The Thirteenth Child left me intrigued, moved, surprised, entertained and impressed.
—Lisa Morton, four-time Bram Stoker Award-winning author of Trick or Treat?: A History of Halloween
If you enjoy being scared to go to bed alone, this is your kind of read. With a well-written, well-paced, yet steadily climbing, plot, The Thirteenth Child is a terrifying journey that will make the reader crazy with intrigue that turns to fear and then crashes into sheer horror at the end. It's not the customary roller coaster ride mentioned in many reviews. Instead, it's a fast uphill trip in a police cruiser.
—Fran Rizer, SleuthSayers