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City of the Dead (The Haunting of Derek Stone #1)

3.81  ·  Rating Details  ·  558 Ratings  ·  91 Reviews
Could the road to the afterlife be a two-way street?

Derek Stone just turned fourteen. He's lived in the heart of New Orleans with his dad and older brother, Ronny, his whole life. He's a little overweight. He can't hear well out of his left ear.

Oh, and he's on the run from the dead.

Derek never imagined that the dead could be anything but dead. But there's no denying it.
Paperback, 144 pages
Published January 1st 2009 by Scholastic Paperbacks
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,157)
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Aug 31, 2008 Michelle rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Kids and anyone who likes books where you have to read the whole series!
I am a little annoyed. I was drawn into reading it, and interested enough to keep reading to find out what was going on. However, it is one of those books where there is no satisfying conclusion and you must read the next book(s) to find out how it ends. Sigh. Great for book sales, I'm sure, but I can't stand when a story reaches a climax and then abruptly ends. It is a very short book.

This is a creepy, dark story about a kid who survives a terrible train crash that killed his brother and fathe
Sep 17, 2013 Cassidy rated it it was amazing
The city of dead is about a boy named Derek Stone who was in a train crash with his brother and father. When he wakes up he find out that he died in the crash but is now alive but as a ghost. He can see and hear the dead and they say their coming for him but he doesn't know why. This is as great mystery book for young adults who like action and suspense.
The city of the dead is a great book because the author Tony Abbot uses many descriptive details making you feel as if your really in the book.
Austin Bartel
Oct 12, 2015 Austin Bartel rated it liked it
I liked this book because of the mystery on how the dead were coming back to life and that it wasn't the same way that is used in the zombie books and shows.
When I started reading this book I thought it was just going to be about zombies and not have an actual story behind it. When I found out that two trains crashed on the exact same bridge, the exact same way I didn't think anything was wrong with that until Derek started doing research on why his brother was acting weird. It turns out tha
Luke F
Nov 02, 2012 Luke F rated it it was amazing
I am currently reading the book The Haunting of Derek Stone Book One by Tony Abbott. I really like this because it is exciting and suspenseful. The book starts out with a train crash that kills both his father and brother. After the crash Derek has many scary dreams and hears voices so it kept my attention. When I have seen a scary movie I have had bad dreams so I understand how Derek must have felt. After the crash Derek's life changed because his uncle had to move into his house to care for hi ...more
Feb 08, 2011 elyse rated it did not like it
so, i'm a book slut. i like EVERYTHING on some small level...even things i don't really like, i enjoy in some way. you know how they say sex is like pizza, even when it's bad it's still pretty good? yeah that's generally how i am about books...except for this's kind of starts a bunch of really really interesting story threads and just as the climax of the story should arrive...the end. i was listening to the book on cd and i got to the end and literally yelled, "WHAT THE ...more
Jun 24, 2013 Susan rated it it was amazing
Shelves: juvenile, 2013
For a juvenile book, I think this would be pretty intense - explicit description of a train wreck and ensuing carnage, voices out of nowhere, being chased by a 'dead' criminal and rushing to an old cemetery. For myself, I loved it! Reminds me of those old mystery books I used to read as a child - though not quite so graphic in that the adventure that follows is a really cool one.

This one left the reader on a huge cliffhanger. Luckily I already have the next book and plan to start it tonight :)
Matt Mccullough
Mar 01, 2015 Matt Mccullough rated it it was ok
The book City of the Dead is a horror and mystery type of book. I honestly did not really think that the book was all that interesting. The story line of the book was cheesy because the zombies could talk and the story line just didn't make that much sense. On the other hand, I didn't really care that much for any of the characters. I thought that it was just kind of bland. One thing that I did like about the book however, was that it still did have a lot of mystery in it. Such as when he was tr ...more
Pamela Tracy
Sep 11, 2015 Pamela Tracy rated it liked it
What to say... I'm waffling on getting the next book.

There were things I really liked. I thought it was one of the best written train wrecks I've ever read. Kudos, Tony. I think Derek is well developed, especially since he has a past he can't remember.

I do want to know about the zombies, but I'm amazed that nobody else is noticing the zombies. When Derek is saved by his dad on the trolley, there needed to be a bit more outcry.

I also like the fact that there was a train wreck decades earlier and
Eduardo Yanez
Sep 12, 2013 Eduardo Yanez rated it really liked it
Has a great hook and attracts readers ,but is missing more adjectives and clever word choice so that readers will end up gaped.:)
Catherine  Mustread
Borrowed this book as I needed a quick-read to have available in the car –– worked too well, as finished it so quickly needed to make a trip to the library a day later to get # 2 in the series, Bayou Dogs. Bit too unbelievable to suspend belief and truly enjoy, but perhaps that is just as well since this is aimed at children, not teens. Not a book for children who might suffer from nightmares after reading about death and dying.
Sep 22, 2011 Griffin rated it it was amazing
This book was not the best but it is one of the best I've read.
Madeline Partner
Oct 16, 2011 Madeline Partner rated it really liked it
A pregnant boy and his ghost friends! D:
Sam Hunt
Jan 26, 2012 Sam Hunt rated it it was amazing
It was really scary!!
Nov 26, 2010 Ruthanne rated it really liked it
Derek Stone is 14, a little chubby and can't hear well out of his left from an infection when he was younger. He lives in New Orleans with his Dad and 19 yr old brother Ronnie. His mom left the family for Paris about 10 years ago.

The family is travelling back home from a train convention when the train derails and crashes into the ravine below. Instantly everyone is killed on the train, safe for Derek and another passenger Abby, who's in a coma.

Derek's uncle comes in to act as caregiver to the
Ian Mclean
Apr 15, 2010 Ian Mclean rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 31, 2015 Eden rated it it was amazing
Derek is 14, a little over weight and can't hear too well out of his left ear. He lives in New Orleans with his father and brother. Derek's mother left 10 years ago and it hasn't really bothered him.
Derek is someone who doesn't believe in the strange or unusual. As he says, "Up is up. Down is down." and it always has been.
But, after him, his father and brother are in a train accident, he to rethink about "Up is up. Down is down." because his world isn't like that anymore. Strange things are happ
SLJ review:

Grade 5–8—Fourteen-year-old Derek survives a horrific train wreck, but his father and older brother Ronny are killed. When Ronny shows up a month after his death, with no explanation, their uncle, who is taking care of Derek and the estate, accepts him immediately. But it's soon apparent to Derek that Ronny is not who he seems to be. Investigating the fact that there was a similar disaster 70 years ago at the same place involving a train full of murderers and thieves introduces Derek
Amanda Harris
Derek Stone, a chubby 14 year old that is hard of hearing in one ear from New Orleans, is in a train accident with his brother and father. Derek survives, but his brother and father are pronounced dead, they even had a funeral. Several days later, Ronny, his brother, appears out of nowhere and is alive! However, Ronny isn't exactly himself. Meanwhile, there are others that appear to be alive, but aren't acting as themselves. Derek realizes that they are dead. A transfer has happened. Derek does ...more
Sep 18, 2013 Jenevieve rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kids
The first in another series by Tony Abbott (which is my 7yr old's favorite author). Derek Stone was on a train ride home with his father and brother when the bridge broke and their train car plummeted into a ravine. Derek survived but there has been no sign of his father and brother and they are presumed dead. Derek had some head trauma and is now hearing things in his left ear, the one that has been damaged most of his life. It sounds like whispering or voices but there is never anyone there. W ...more
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Angie Fisher for

Fourteen-year-old Derek Stone isn't a daydreamer. He prefers reality, the concrete stuff. So when he and his dad and brother are aboard a train that crashes into a deep, deadly ravine, Derek understands he is the sole survivor.

Or is he?

Derek's world is literally turned upside down after the wreck. Everything he thought he knew to be true begins to unravel, and he is unraveling with it.

When he finds an old newspaper article about a train crash that hap
Sarah Evans
Jan 09, 2009 Sarah Evans rated it really liked it
Shelves: washyarg
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 13, 2009 gina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: artmeis fowl fans, last apprentice fans
I thoroughly enjoyed this short read (or in my case listen). I would recommend this book to readers who have read and liked Artemis Fowl or the Last Apprentice books. The boy is 14, lives in New Orleans, and is "special" in some way.
As a Book: I love and miss New Orleans as I don't get to visit as much as I used to. This book conjured back up memories of Louisiana and all its swampy and rich historical glory. The author is fantastic. I loved the phrases he used. Imaginative and dark, would be t
Aug 11, 2012 Danielle rated it it was amazing
I love when an author finds a way to make reading interesting for young boys. You don't often see books that will pull them in, but this one should do the trick. It's a fantastic book for the junior fiction crowd. Just because the protagonist is a boy, though, does not mean that girls won't enjoy this, as well. Set in Louisiana, we meet Derek Stone who goes through an extremely traumatic train accident in the first chapter. He begins to hear voices and comes to find that the dead are somehow, we ...more
Jun 26, 2014 Carrie rated it liked it
This book had a fair amount of action. However I didn't connect with the main character, Derek Stone. The supporting characters, especially the uncle, were one dimensional. It took Derek the entire book to figure out what I knew by the third chapter. This is obviously a series because nothing was solved by the end of the book. I will not be reading the next one.
City of the Dead was a whimsical audiobook I tried because I needed something for the car that was only a couple hours long. What I found was that this book was messed up creeptastic. At the beginning of the book, Derek, his brother Ronny and father are in a terrible train accident, leaving Derek as the only one left in his family. He lives with his uncle and then miraculously Ronny shows back up, but he seems off and acts strange. Derek must figure out what is going on. City of the Dead had a g ...more
Nov 13, 2010 Oscar rated it it was amazing
Derek Stone is a teenage boy who was thought to be dead in a train crash. His father and brother were also on the train and they died. Or did they? All the people on the train were said dead. The thing is that soon Derek's brother comes walking home one day, while Derek is with his uncle. His brother is acting strange, like if he never knew Derek or anyone. Suddenly, Derek is hearing noises in his ear. How is this all happening? The dead from the train wreckage are coming back. And they are look ...more
Oct 06, 2012 Owen rated it liked it
It was okay. I feel like it shouldn't be a short book by itself, but instead it should be part of a larger book. It is written for young readers so they probably need to have it broken up. I think maybe I would have enjoyed this when I was younger, but it didn't particualrly hold my interest. I finished because it is about 140 pages and I read it in about an hour/hour and a half or so. I didn't mind the main character that much, it's just that the elements of the story seemed pretty cliched and ...more
Jennah Mielke
Nov 16, 2012 Jennah Mielke rated it really liked it
I LOVED this book. Derek Stones life starts out normal he was just coming back from a train convention with is brother and his dad when the bridge collapsed! Derek's brother gets pulled out of the car by a dead man who died seventy years before in the first crash. Derek's life is never the same after the crash. I think Derek was the most interesting character because he cant hear out of one of his ears but the ear he can hear out of he hears the dead moaning and groaning. Hes a bit chubby and hi ...more
4.0 stars. Grades 4-6. First off, this is not great literature. Secondly, it should be a big hit among middle schoolers. I would recommend this book to reluctant readers, boys, sci-fi lovers, zombie/supernatural lovers, action-adventure lovers, anyone who wants a fast-paced, exciting read. Derek Stone is 14-years-old, the sole survivor of a truly horrible train wreck which is eerily similar to another wreck in 1938. Both his brother and father are killed in the same wreck. Derek and his uncle ho ...more
Oct 16, 2009 Brenda added it
Shelves: children-s
Derek Stone just turned fourteen and lives in New Orleans with his dad and older brother. Derek is involved in a horrific train accident which leaves his father and brother missing and presumed dead. Until one day when his older brother Ronny shows up at the front door. Ronny has not returned unscathed, in fact it turns out he's a zombie. Plus Derek can now see and hear dead people and they're after him.

This is a fun, solid middle grade book. I've recommended it to kids looking for a scare, who
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Tony Abbott (born 1952) is an American author of children's books. His most popular work is the book series The Secrets of Droon, which includes over 40 books. He has sold over 12 million copies of his books and they have been translated into several other languages, including Italian, Spanish, Korean, French, Japanese, Polish, Turkish, and Russian. He has also written the bestseller "Firegirl".
More about Tony Abbott...

Other Books in the Series

The Haunting of Derek Stone (4 books)
  • Bayou Dogs (The Haunting of Derek Stone, Book #2)
  • The Red House (The Haunting of Derek Stone, Book 3)
  • The Ghost Road (The Haunting of Derek Stone, Book 4)

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