Cover of Thirteen Chairs by Dave Shelton. Thirteen ghostly chairs on a black background

About the Book

Title: Thirteen Chairs
Published: 2014

Cover Story: I Am, I Cried…
The Best: Razor, The Patchwork Sailor
The Worst: The Wrong Side of the Road
The Weird: The Girl in the Red Coat, Unputdownable
Bonus Factors: So What’s Really Going on Here?
Break Glass In Case Of: A Need for Goosebumps

Cover Story: I Am, I Cried…

The mundane chairs kind of add to the ominous nature of the cover, and the book itself. No game of musical chairs, this.

The Deal:

A boy named Jack–a curious boy–finds himself in an abandoned house. He stumbles into a room where twelve shadowy figures sit around a candlelit table.

“You’re late. But then again, we all are.”

Jack is invited to take the thirteenth empty chair. The figures begin to tell haunting stories, one after the other. Jack is enthralled, but scared. Who are these people? And will Jack be expected to tell a story? He doesn’t belong here…right?

The Best: Razor

A reporter pretends to be interested in buying a murder house, so he can get a chance to photograph the gory aftermath. Unfortunately, the cleaners did too good of a job. There’s no evidence that a killer was ever there. Not a single thing…

The Best: The Patchwork Sailor

A young boy working at a seaside pub has heard every tale of the deep from his sailor customers. But there’s something unusual and familiar about this new guy, with his patchwork clothes and mismatched eyes.

The Worst: The Wrong Side of the Road

A hit and run driver has gotten away with murder. So why his his taxi driver so quiet and weird? Predictable jump scare.

The Weird: The Girl in the Red Coat

A bullied, motherless girl is suddenly defended by a strange kid who never shows her face. Excellent kid voice and original ghost.

The Weird: Unputdownable

A struggling writer moves into a house and finds himself filled with inspiration. He simply can’t stop writing amazing prose. He can’t stop. Not ever.

Bonus Factors: So What’s Really Going on Here?

The 'I see dead people' confession from The Sixth Sense

As the characters finish their stories and blow out their candles, Jack realizes that he, too, will have to spin a tale. But who are these people? Why are they here? Why is Jack here? He doesn’t seem to belong.

And no, it’s not what you think.

Break Glass In Case Of: A Need for Goosebumps

These stories are all between ten and twenty pages, so any of these chapters would make a nice break between longer reads. But I warn you, it’s not an easy book to put down, especially when Jack’s chapter grows near. A nice source of good spooks, without keeping you up at night.

Well, maybe that Razor chapter.

FTC full disclosure: I received neither money nor whiskey to write this review.


Brian wrote his first YA novel when he was down and out in Mexico. He now lives in Missouri with his wonderful wife and daughter. He divides his time between writing and working as a school librarian. Brian still misses the preachy YA books of the eighties.