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Night of the Living Zed

by Basil Sylvester and Kevin Sylvester

l to r: Basil Sylvester (Credit: Laura Carlin) and Kevin Sylvester

Writing duo Basil Sylvester and Kevin Sylvester return with more adventures featuring nonbinary tween Zed and their best friend Gabe in Night of the Living Zed, a companion novel to the well-received The Fabulous Zed Watson!

Taking place around Halloween, Night of the Living Zed centres on the mysterious Glyndebourne Manor, the supposedly haunted estate of world-renowned theatre set and costume designer Charlotte Scherrer. Once Zed learns of a contest with a cash prize for the team who can survive a terrifying, ghost-filled stay at Glyndebourne Manor, they are absolutely transfixed. With some cajoling, Gabe is convinced to join Zed, and the story quickly jumps to the best friends being dropped off at the manor for the three-day contest. 

As the clues and room puzzles become increasingly arduous, and the actual mystery at the core of the story appears to shift focus, Zed and Gabe partner with a young relative of Scherrer’s to increase their chances of successfully solving the mystery. In heart-tugging turns of revelations, what begins as a seemingly straightforward haunted house mystery unfolds as an expedition to discover the most important piece of Charlotte Scherrer’s life. 

For readers unfamiliar with Zed and Gabe, Night of the Living Zed does not proffer much in the way of backstory or reintroduction to the characters. That being said, Zed and Gabe are such kind-hearted, delightful characters, and Zed’s enthusiasm in experiencing life and all things spooky simply bustles off the page. One cannot help but be drawn in by their patter, as well as the layered mystery at the crux of the novel. Historical and pop culture nods from Bela Lugosi and Scooby-Doo to La Scala opera house and La Bohème are generously sprinkled throughout. 

Night of the Living Zed is quick-witted and zippy, even through the scares. By turns heartfelt, surprising, eerie, and laugh-out-loud funny, the novel is a touching, skilfully crafted story that will delight fans of middle grade mysteries. Here’s hoping for more adventures starring the fabulous Zed Watson and their friends!


Reviewer: Michelle Callaghan

Publisher: HarperCollins


Price: $24.99

Page Count: 256 pp

Format: Cloth

ISBN: 978-1-44346-920-3

Released: January

Issue Date: March 2024

Categories: Children and YA Fiction, Kids’ Books

Age Range: 8–12