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The Hanging Hill (Haunted Mystery, #2)
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The Hanging Hill (Haunted Mystery #2)

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  530 Ratings  ·  86 Reviews
After narrowly escaping a malevolent spirit in The Crossroads, Zack and Judy are hoping to relax during the rehearsals for a show based on Judy's bestselling children's books. Little do they know that the director is planning to raise a horde of evil specters from the dead, and to accomplish this, he needs a human sacrifice.
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published August 11th 2009 by Random House Books for Young Readers (first published July 31st 2009)
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Jul 17, 2010 rated it it was amazing
So, how is it that one author can write so well to two different audiences and carry it off so well? I'm always boggled by an author who writes really well - but those (and there are many) who can do it for more than one series just amaze me.

This is the second in the YA series with Zack, his step-mother Judy and the problems they have with ghosts. This time Judy and Zack have traveled to the Hanging Hill Playhouse to produce one of Judy's books as a musical. This is a very old house and, of cour
Spook Harrison
Jun 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Loving this series! I like how it's a worthwhile mystery and the whole seeing-ghosts thing isn't overdone. I also really like how the adults are portrayed in the books, some are very supportive and great, some are horrible, and their interactions and motivations feel true. Fun!
Apr 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing
#2 in the YA paranormal mystery series featuring Zack Jennings and his family. Eleven-year-old Zack and his stepmother Judy are off to Chatham, CT where Judy's book Curiosity Cat is being produced as a play by the rather famous director Reginald Grimes at the Hanging Hill Theatre. Theatres are notoriously full of ghosts as Zack and Judy, who can also see ghosts, find out quickly, much to their dismay.

Some ghosts are benevolent, others seem neutral and still others downright evil. Zack is excite
Feb 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
The Hanging Hill is Grabenstein’s sequel to The Crossroads, and in some respects it is an even better read. The protagonist Zack is funnier and more well-rounded, and there were flights of imagination that had me laughing out loud. There is an exciting mystery, and of course, more ghosts for Zack to meet, and evil demons to vanquish, including one from his past, although this time he is not alone. Apparently there are other people who can see ghosts, and Zack teams up with a few of them to rid t ...more
Sheila Beaumont
This scary, funny sequel to The Crossroads is even better than the first book! Young Zack, who is a ghost seer, accompanied by his stepmother, Judy, and his Jack Russell terrier, Zipper, travels to the Hanging Hill Playhouse, where a play based on Judy's "Curiosity Cat" children's books is to be performed by the Pandemonium Players. Unfortunately, the director, who obviously has a screw loose, has other plans, which involve using an ancient Carthaginian ritual that will feed children to Moloch a ...more
Nov 04, 2009 rated it really liked it
I don't know what I can say about this one that I didn't already say about the first book in the series. Grabenstein has created a delightfully spooky and mysterious series for middle-grade readers that I can't devour fast enough. The books are fun and exciting, fast-paced and filled with memorable characters (both physical and spectral). I loved that this one took place in a haunted theater. Perhaps the only thing I didn't love about this one is Zack's dead mother's attempts to make amends with ...more
This is Grabenstein's second book for younger readers, a sequel to The Crossroads. The main characters have discovered that they really have a talent for seeing ghosts; their first adventure wasn't a fluke. Zack and his stepmom Judy really can see ghosts, and the Hanging Hill Playhouse seems to be full of them. They are there for a production of one of Judy's children's books that was turned into a play. This is a fast-paced read, with ghosts, bad guys, attempts at magic and bringing people back ...more
Sep 24, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adults
Zach sees ghosts. He killed a demon in "The Crossroads." Now he has to free the ghosts at the Hanging Hill Playhouse and send the demons back where they came from. Guided by his mother's ghost (with whom he had a very bad relationship before she died), his dog, Zipper, and a little juggler girl ghost, Zach, once again, comes to the rescue of people who need it, including his stepmother and the rest of the cast of "Curiousity Cat," a musical based on his stepmother's books. Lots of fun, as always ...more
Kelly Karsner Clarke
Jan 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Multiple POVs ~ Zack, the bad guys and the Hanging Hill director. I'm surprised that Zack wasn't more cautious or afraid of moving to a place called Hanging Hill.

It's been many years since I read the first book, so I don't remember any history about Zack. I like Judy, the nice stepmother.

* Cool haunted house cover (it does look like a face)
* Zack's thoughtfulness to not want to bother Judy
* Judy, nice step-mother, who can see ghosts and is a celebrated children's story writer
* Judy's book
Sheila Becker
Jan 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2017
I am not a horror fan but really like the other books I've read by Chris Grabenstein, so I found this series at the library. Still not a fan of the genre, but also really like these books. Way to confuse myself. Suspense is about as far as I usually go and since this is a kid's book, I can live with it, though I still had to be a little careful about when I read it.
Aug 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This was a very quick read. I enjoyed it's funny moments with a touch of creeepiness. I would recommend this book for a child age 10 and up, or even age 8 if they are advanced readers.

A very enjoyable book!
Janet Riegel
Nov 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: juvenile-fiction
This was a very exciting adventure! Loved how he wove the characters alive and dead together! Has a more intense feel than the Lemoncello books. Definitely a page turner!
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Christine Beaulac
Mar 10, 2017 rated it liked it
I like how the author compares ghosts to electricity, wind and gravity, where even though you can see these things, you know that they're present.
Nicola Mansfield
Sep 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Reason for Reading: The sequel to The Crossroads.

Comments: Zack and his step-mom, a famous children's book author, are spending the summer at the Hanging Hill Theatre where, for the first time, one of her books is being turned into a musical. The Theatre has been around for well near a century while both the building and the land have quite a chequered past. So it comes to no surprise to Zack when he starts to see the occasional ghost. But when the ghosts start talking of demons and Zack meets
Oct 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book, "The Hanging Hill" by Chris Grabenstein is about how a boy named Zack that can see ghosts and goes to a theater to see one of his stepmother's books in a play.But then, he finds out that two of the actors are in danger from a necromancer who wants to bring the world filled with dangerous ghosts.With his rare ability to see ghosts, he teams up with himself and with advice from ghosts who acted in the theater to stop the necromancer from doing it and put the world in hell.

I chose this
Conan Tigard
Nov 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
The Hanging Hill is another wonderful book by Chris Grabenstein. I like a little scary stuff mixed in with a good adventure story. Yes, there are ghosts in this book. Yes, there are some really nasty ghosts in the book, but none of them are major characters. Yes, there are a lot of good ghosts, too. Zack Jennings is the kind of main character that readers will instantly like. He is your normal, everyday kid who is lucky enough to see ghosts. Does he have any other super powers? No, unless you co ...more
In The Hanging Hill: A Haunted Mystery, the second installment in the series, Zack and his stepmom, famous children's author, Judy McGruder, head to the Hanging Hill Summer Theater, where Judy's book, The Curiousity Cat will be performed under the watchful eye of famous director, Reginald Grimes.

As in The Crossroads, though, Zack is in for much more than meeting famous child actors, hanging out with his best dog, Zipper, and catching up on summer fun. Ghosts are aplenty at the theater and Zack
Jada Bennett
May 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
So I recently took two family trips-road trips, might I add-and being desperate for some kind of opening-to-book connection, I figured I might share that with you :) The main character, Zack, is going with his stepmom on a road trip to a playhouse where her children's books will be made into a play. The only problem is is that Zack's starting to see ghosts again, as an after-effect from his last adventure with them. Luckily, there's more people who can see them in this book, so he isn't complete ...more
Samantha Boyette
Feb 04, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2012
Alright, I'll admit I didn't like this one quite as much as the first book, but it was still pretty good. Granted it's been a while since I read the first one, but I felt like it was a little more epic. This one felt more obviously like a book aimed at kids. Still very enjoyable for any fan of a good ghost story though.

We follow Zack and his dog Zipper on another ghost adventure as they tag along with his step mom to the Hanging Hill Playhouse where a play based on her book is about to be prefor
Mar 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is a second in the series. A young boy can see ghosts. He and his step mom go to a theater to put on a play that his step mom has written. He meets some other child actors there and they soon find that there are several ghosts at the theater. One of them is the main character's mother. She didn't love him while he was alive and it appears that the ghost has not changed. The children try to help stop a man from opening up the portal to hell and letting loose many bad people. In the end they ...more
Feb 20, 2010 rated it liked it
Zack and his stepmother Judy are working at a summer stock theater where they encounter the ghost of one Connecticut's most notorious crimminals.

This is the sequel to The Crossroads also one of Chris Grabenstein's books. I really liked the first one and had a hard time putting it down but this one I had a harder time getting into.

First of all in this one Zack new he had a special gift, which he did not want by the way, to see ghosts. As he encounters the ghost in the motel he tries not look at
I just found out I won this book in the Goodreads First Read Program. I am so excited. I love a good ghost story and this book sounds like it has a great creep out factor. I am seriously considering getting the first book just to make sure I read them in order. Thank you so much for this booK!!!

This book was AMAZING! I absolutely loved it. I will now be getting all the other books that Chris has written. I cannot wait for my kids to read this book. I loved the story, the setting, the characters.
Sep 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
This book was a amazingly good sequel to The Crossroads. It involves acting, ghosts and a old ancient civilization with weird thoughts. I liked the first book the best and I think I got more in to it then this one. It was a good idea and had a lot of description but for me there was just something missing to make it amazing. I did love how he explained the ghosts and major scene's in the book. If you are a mystery or history person I would recommend this book for you. I am so going to read the n ...more
Apr 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Second in a series with 11-year old Zach Jennings and his stepmother, famous author Judy. Zach and Judy have a lot in common. They both great imaginations and love joking around. And they can both see ghosts. In "The Hanging Hill", one of Judy's books is being performed as a musical so Judy and Zach are spending part of their summer at a small town theater. Reginald Grimes is the world famous director but also part of a horrific plan to open the door between the real world and Pandemonium, the c ...more
Jul 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
I can't get enough of Zack (Jack with Z), Zipper, and Judy. By the end of The Hanging Hill, I had had enough of "The Exalted One" and his henchmen, however. What an evil windbag. I appreciate the way Zack's strained relationship with his real mother is being addressed. I think that other authors might dismiss what this mentally abusive relationship can do to a child and simply brush it off by the second book. It's refreshing and it is helpful for kids, young adults and even adults who know what ...more
Nov 16, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: horror-2nd-floor
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: elementary-books
Zack, Zipper, and stepmom Judy are back for another romp. This time in a haunted theater - and what could be better than that? Basements full of ghosts and evil necromancers, a ghost who juggles, an actor who keeps taking her final bows and a live girl who can see the ghosts just a plainly as Zack can.
I enjoyed this book even more than the first one - the characters are expanded upon and the story was a quick fun read!
Holli  Ronquillo
Jul 16, 2014 rated it liked it
I still enjoyed this story (same characters who happen to run into some ghosts who need help and/or closure). But it didn't resonate as much with me as the first book of the series did. The bad guy seemed like a regular mean guy, but he suddenly was ok with murder, mayhem, etc. It just didn't ring true to what most people are like (i.e. pretty nuanced, and at least initially uncomfortable with murder). Even so, it was an enjoyable, fun read that a middle grade reader would probably like.
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CHRIS GRABENSTEIN is a #1 New York Times bestselling. His books include the LEMONCELLO LIBRARY series, the WONDERLAND series, and many fun and funny page-turners co-authored with James Patterson. You can visit Chris at
More about Chris Grabenstein...

Other Books in the Series

Haunted Mystery (4 books)
  • The Crossroads (Haunted Mystery, #1)
  • The Smoky Corridor (Haunted Mystery #3)
  • The Black Heart Crypt (Haunted Mystery #4)

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“There's this thing about ghosts: Once you've seen one, you can basically see them all.

At least the ones that want to be seen.”
More quotes…