The Story So Far...

Johnny Dixon series

"Gravely ill." The haunting words keep repeating themselves over and over in Johnny Dixon's brain. After all the tests, doctors still can't find any earthly reason why Johnny's father lies unconscious. Could it be that Johnny's own tangles with the malevolent creature have caused his father to be its latest victim? To save Major Dixon, Johnny and his friends Professor Childermass and Fergie Ferguson must not only enter into battle with the fearsome fiend, they must fight it in the realm of its own unearthly world. Can the rescue Johnny's father? Or will they all die, leaving the earth in peril from the demon's rage?

The Wrath of the Grinning Ghost (1999), by Brad Strickland, is the twelfth book in the Johnny Dixon series.


"As with Bellairs' own writing, Strickland succeeds in creating a plot with horrifying enemies defeated through the ordinary courage and goodness of Johnny and his mentor."

  • BooksForKidsBlog


Johnny gasped. The shape had shot out of the crystal ball and hovered above it! It was a face. A dead-white face of a thin man. Long white hair trailed at the sides. The eyes were wide and black. They were the worst of all. The eyes had no whites, no pupils, but were pools as dark and glistening as puddles of oil. Johnny could see no lips on the face, just a gash of a mouth. The creature's mouth opened in a terrible grin.

"Free!" said a dead, rustling voice. "Free! I shall take my final sacrifice from the world of the living! And the universe shall be mine!"

The monstrous face quivered in the air, and then it vanished. In its place hung something black, the shape of a bird. To Johnny it looked like an eagle or a falcon. It was not flying. The wings were folded, and the figure resembled a statuette of a falcon more than it did a living bird. "Johnny Dixon! Can you hear me?"

The downturned falcon's beak did not move. It couldn't really be speaking, not with any normal voice, but in his head, Johnny heard a raspy voice that was somehow familiar: "Now you've done it! I tried to appear and warn you about what was going to happen, but no! I can't fight this evil thing alone! Get help! Get to Professor Frizz-Face as soon as you can! Or else the world is doomed!"

And then Madam Lumiere shrieked as Johnny toppled out of his chair and fell to the floor.

And everything went dark.