Palm Springs resident Shannon Duffy and her co-author John Zakour have cooked up a delightful teenage adventure showcasing a winsome little town filled with wacky characters in Stormy Knight: Prom Queen of the Undead. Littleton High School is the scene of some spooky doings as the students prepare for prom night. A possible choice for prom queen, is Stormy Knight, a popular girl who has supernatural powers. Stormy is a half-vamp, the daughter of the vampire queen and a postal worker who dabbles in magic. Unlike her capricious mother, Stormy does not like to use her powers such as her hypnotic voice or her mind domination capabilities, because all she really wants to do is to fit in.
Campaigning hard for the royal title is Rosey Cheeks, a cheerleader with a chip on her shoulder. Rosey, the daughter of a lesbian power couple, rules a formidable crew at the school and believes the prom night crown is hers by right. Recognizing a rival in pretty Stormy, Rosey tries to get Stormy and her friends in trouble at every turn. But trouble of another sort is brewing in Littleton, because someone is starting to raise the undead. Stormy is forced to use her powers to uncover the evildoer and prevent a catastrophe at the high school. In a race against time, she, her friends and her dad strive to unravel the puzzle of the escalating ghost population in Littleton.
The authors’ creation of a half-vampire is in itself an apt metaphor for the teen years. At sixteen, Stormy fights to understand and manage her emerging powers such as her ghost pheromones, which render her a spook magnet. She also is confused by her changing feelings for her two guy pals, Corey and Marco. Her mother, Candi, who is not only a vampire but a vamp, turns up now and then to mentor her daughter about puberty problems both human and supernatural. After showing Stormy how to eat a ghost, Candi remarks, “Thanks for the snack dear. Ectoplasm is like blood plasm, but even tastier with less calories!”
Perhaps the most endearing character is Stormy’s dad, Sidney, the spell-casting letter carrier. He is the quintessential spouse left behind, wistfully recalling his tempestuous liaison, and always asking that Stormy ‘remember him’ to Candi.
Duffy and Zakour deliver action-packed scenes peppered with spot-on teen dialogue, perhaps because Duffy also is an actor. They throw in twists and turns that will keep the reader guessing to the end. When prom night finally arrives, the authors succeed at raising the stakes to a fiendish level (literally!), and the climax packs a satisfying wallop.
This reviewer hopes that the Duffy/Zakour team turns this appealing cast of characters into a series so that readers are treated to more adventures featuring Stormy, her friends and her unlikely but engaging parents.
Stormy Knight is available in paperback and as an eBook from Blue Leaf Publications. The novel is recommended for ages 9 – 12. The striking cover illustration is by Saxon Erdman. ISBN-10: 0975509594.