Release Date: July 3, 2014
Genre: Middle Grade
Don’t shut your eyes…don’t turn out the lights…you might run into the coolest person you’ve ever met!
Sixth-grader Stetson Oliver has a great life: a loving family, good grades, fantastic hopes and dreams. One night while drifting off to sleep, Stetson thinks he sees movement in the shadows; in the blink of an eye, objects around his room have mysteriously been moved. When he turns his head, Stetson is met by a dark, hooded figure towering above him…
The Boogerman has haunted and tormented numerous children (Stetson included) for many sleepless nights, only to find that he’s getting a bad rap—but he’s just misunderstood, he swears! With Stetson’s help, he wants to reshape his image and right his reputation. As Stetson and the Boogerman embark on a dangerous adventure, the stakes are raised...and Stetson soon learns that making a deal with the Boogerman is like making a deal with the devil—nothing is an even trade.
Debut author John Burnett is an English professor at Wayne County Community College in Detroit, Michigan. He has enjoyed introducing hundreds of students each year to the wonder of great fiction specifically, and the joy of reading in general. A black belt in karate for twenty years (tang soo do), he briefly made a living teaching martial arts before earning his masters degree in English.
John lives in Southfield, Michigan with his wife, two sons, and their beagle, Chance. He aspires to someday be a jazz guitarist, but for now, he’s busy working on his next novel.
“Now what?” Stetson wondered aloud irritably.
His question was quickly answered. A group of monsters, six or seven of them, had suddenly materialized out of nowhere outside the house. Apparently, these creatures had the same teleportation ability the Boogerman had.
“Header demons,” the Boogerman said quietly.
That, Stetson thought, was an oddly counterintuitive name, because these atrocities didn’t have heads. They had clearly been human beings at one time but all of them were in a shocking state of decomposition. Their clothing was worm-eaten and clumped with dirt, as if they had literally clawed their way out of their graves.
Stetson, though certainly stouter than he had been before he started adventuring with the Boogerman, felt petrified with terror. Literally petrified. For a moment, he simply couldn’t seem to move.
“Wouldn’t we be safer inside?” he whispered.
“And lead them directly to what they’re looking for?” The Boogerman shook his head. “Not a good option.”
“You don’t mean to say you intend to fight them, do you? There’re at least seven of them!”
The Boogerman’s head was on a swivel, constantly shifting from ghoul to ghoul, so that he could keep track of exactly where each one was as they slowly advanced on the house.
“No,” he replied, calmly. “Fighting is usually the least desirable solution in a siege situation. Trickery and misdirection is almost always more effective, especially with most species of demon. They may be terrifying to behold, and they’re formidable foes in a fight, but they really aren’t very bright. They’re quite easy to dupe.”
Stetson heard every word the Boogerman said, but his attention was fully engaged by the Header demons as they came nearer and nearer. When they each slowly and simultaneously raised their ragged and decomposing arms and pointed, first at the Boogerman, and then at Stetson himself, a sudden rush of blood to his head left him lightheaded.
How did they do that? They don’t have eyes to see who they were pointing at! The Headers’ arms shook pathetically, like a very old man’s. Stetson’s heart was pounding so fast and loud he was sure he could actually hear it.
What happened next was all a blur. With the sound of a gushing wind howling through trees, the Boogerman disappeared in a burst of red mist. As Stetson watched in amazement, he reappeared out in the yard, only a few paces in front of the advancing demons.
Only now, there were several of him. Ten identical copies of the Boogerman stood laughing before the monsters, taunting them.