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Danny Weston is the YA pen name for popular children and YA writer Philip Caveney. He lives with his wife in Edinburgh.
His best known books are the Sebastain Darke series for middle grade readers, and The Piper and The Haunting of Jessop Rise for YA readers.
Island of Shadows | Set in post-war Britain, this gripping novel is steeped in atmosphere and adventure - think Enid Blyton for older readers with lashings of creepiness in place of cream buns and ginger beer. Noah and his adoptive mother Millicent, a bestselling children’s author, are finding life hard after losing their beloved Captain in battle. Struggling to write a new novel, Millicent insists they head to the remote Scottish island of Inchtinn to find inspiration. Inchtinn means “Island of the Sick”, on account of it being home to a ramshackle 400-year-old leper hospital and not much else, apart from rumours of ghosts and unpleasant deaths, and a colony of aggressively protective guillemots. When Noah encounters an otherworldly cave-dwelling girl, a sinister real-life mystery unfolds as Millicent struggles with her fictional Adventurers story. To Noah’s huge exasperation and anger, she won’t heed his insistence that they’re in danger. Indeed, tensions between mother and son run high throughout, and are powerfully addressed in the thrilling final sequences when Noah must face his greatest fears. The novel’s rugged natural-world backdrop and classic ghost story motifs set it apart from many books for younger teens. Miranda Harris’s haunting line drawings make it unusual too - it’s a rare joy for novels aimed at this age to be illustrated. With its spirit of adventure and theme of facing deep-rooted fears in a grown-up way, this will satisfy readers on the cusp of their teenage years who don’t yet want to leave behind the mystery and magic of Middle Grade novels.
September 2016 Book of the Month In a Nutshell: Historical haunting | Eerie intrigue | Sinister secrets Chilling historical novel in which an orphan becomes entangled in a web of supernatural goings-on and family secrets. It’s 1853 and, following the death of his father, William’s Uncle Seth offers to take him in, so he walks the eighty miles to Seth's cliff top mansion in North Wales, land of his deceased father. While William tries to settle into these unfamiliar, unfriendly circumstances (his uncle is arrogant, ill-humoured and makes William work as a valet to his stepson, Toby), he witnesses a series of unsettling occurrences - the sound of a woman sobbing for help, the sight of a cloaked figure near the cliffs, words written in frost on his window. Could these haunting happenings be the work of the Hag of the Mist, as claimed by Rhiannon, the superstitious scullery maid? William is unconvinced, but the home truths turn out to be even more terrifying than local folklore. Alongside the thrilling unfolding of the mystery, this truly gripping tale also features a strong strand about seeing the good in people and acting nobly. Perceptive, good-natured and empathetic, William is a character you really do root for (he even finds it in his heart to understand how Toby came to be such an idle brat, and he even risks his own life to protect him), and his action-packed story would surely make an enthralling screen adaptation. ~ Joanne Owen
Danny Weston writes decidedly creepy thrillers, and this will certainly send shivers down the spine. The eponymous Mr Sparks is an ancient wooden ventriloquist’s dummy, who claims to be a real boy. He can certainly think and speak for himself, and his character is so cruel and ruthless that to some he seems to be an incarnation of the Devil himself. When twelve-year-old Owen finds himself in the position of puppet master he has no choice but to do what Mr Sparks tells him – but just maybe Owen’s honesty and compassion will keep him safe. Set just after the end of the First World War, this is a very chilling and effective supernatural adventure. ~ Andrea Reece
Winner of the Scottish Children's Book Awards 2015 12-16 age category - October 2014 Debut of the Month A haunting and moving story as something sinister from the past reaches out to two children evacuated to Romney Marsh in the Second World War. Newly arrived from London, Peter and Daisy are taken to Sheldon Grange. It’s a lonely place set deep in the Marsh and they are warned not to explore on their own. The house is full of strangeness and soon Daisy is drawn to the haunting music she can hear at night and to the children dancing to it. How can Peter keep her safe? Commenting on his win, Danny said: “I am absolutely thrilled to have won this award, especially because it has been voted for, not by critics and industry insiders, but by the people who matter most; the young readers for whom the story was actually written. Thanks to everyone who voted for ‘The Piper’. You have rocked my world.”
A fantastically creepy new mystery from Danny Weston. Inchtinn - Where sinister beings stir and tormented souls seek revenge. What if survival relied on facing your greatest fears? Noah is forced to travel with his distant mother to the remote Scottish island of Inchtinn. Since the death of his father, she's been struggling for inspiration for her next bestselling children's book and hopes an adventurous trip will help them both. Yet adventure isn't the only thing that awaits their arrival. When things take a turn for the worse, Noah has to face the most unimaginable horrors . . .
Jack and his dad are runaways. Jack's father recently turned whistleblower, revealing the truth about the illicit dealings of some powerful people. Realising that he and Jack might be in danger, Dad drives them to a remote shooting lodge in the Scottish Highlands, where they intend to lay low. In the cornfield beside the lodge stands a scarecrow. When Jack witnesses something incredible, he begins to realise that it is no ordinary scarecrow - it is alive, hungry and fuelled by rage. And when Dad's enemies begin to converge on the lodge, the scarecrow might just turn out to be Jack's best hope of survival.
Alone and penniless after his father is killed in a cotton mill accident, fourteen-year-old William faces the rest of his childhood in a brutal workhouse. Then his long-estranged uncle Seth sends for him, and William thinks his fortunes are changing. But arriving at Uncle Seth's grand house in North Wales, Jessop Rise, William encounters a ghostly figure. It soon becomes clear that the place is haunted by more than just one ghost. But who are the spectral creatures that prowl about the estate? What are they trying to tell William? And what is the dark secret that Uncle Seth has been keeping for so long? As William uncovers the clues, he finds himself caught up in a dark and terrifying mystery.
After his father goes missing in the Great War, Owen is abandoned to live with his cruel aunt, and wishes he could escape his life of drudgery in her small seaside guesthouse. There he meets a mysterious guest, who appears to make his ventriloquist's dummy speak, even in his sleep. Soon Owen realises that the dummy, Mr Sparks, can really talk - and he's looking for a newer, younger puppetmaster. But Mr Sparks has a dark past . . .
He who pays the piper calls the tune. When Peter and his little sister, Daisy, are evacuated from London to the countryside, they find themselves on an isolated farm in the middle of a treacherous marshland. As Daisy gets drawn deeper into the secrets of their new home, Peter starts to realise that something very sinister is going on. What is that music they can hear at night? And who are the children dancing to it?
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