John Bellairs's Johnny Dixon in The Hand of the Necromancer

Brad Strickland

Dial Books for Young Readers. $14.99
(paper $4.99)

Johnny's friend Professor Childermass has loaned some artifacts which once belonged to an evil wizard to the local museum; but he hides one, a mysterious wooden hand. Then the sinister Mr. Mergal arrives, asking threatening questions and stealing the exhibit. Johnny and the professor quickly have their hands full dealing with wild summer lightning,nightmares and walking skeletons -- and then the professor disappears! Whoever said summer vacation would be boring?

Brad Strickland has previously completed four unfinished books by the late John Bellairs, including The Drum, the Doll, and the Zombie, also starring Johnny Dixon. The Hand of the Necromancer is Strickland's first original story using Bellairs' characters, and he does an excellent job of recreating Bellairs' style.

The Hand of the Necromancer is a fun book, quick and shivery. Young readers should find it an entertaining alternative to the "Goosebumps"series and other young adult horror.


This review originally appeared in the October 27, 1996 edition of The Roanoke Times.


Also starring Johnny Dixon, by John Bellairs:

The Curse of the Blue Figurine. Dial Books, 1983
The Mummy, the Will, and the Crypt. Dial Books, 1983
The Spell of the Sorcerer's Skull. Dial Books, 1984
The Revenge of the Wizard's Ghost. Dial Books, 1985
The Eyes of the Killer Robot. Dial Books, 1986
The Chessmen of Doom. Dial Books, 1989
The Trolley to Yesterday. Dial Books, 1989
The Secret of the Underground Room. Dial Books, 1990

And completed by Brad Strickland:

The Drum, the Doll, and the Zombie. Dial Books, 1994

And written by Brad Strickland:

The Hand of the Necromancer. Dial Books, 1996
The Bell, the Book, and the Spellbinder. Dial Books, 1997
The Wrath of the Grinning Ghost. Dial Books, 1999


This review copyright 1996 by Wendy Morris
Information last updated June 20, 2000

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