Serafina is an odd girl, right down to her bones. She’s missing a toe on each foot, and she prowls the night, killing rats in her unofficial capacity as the Biltmore Estate Chief Rat Catcher. She skitters up drapes and tapestries, and she longs to have a true friend. One night, as she prowls around, she happens upon a man in a black cloak, who is also hunting—for children. Although Serafina tries to fight the man in the black cloak, he grabs up Clara Schuman, a guest of the Vanderbilts’, and afterwards, nothing is left of her. Serafina’s hard-working father doesn’t believe her story, but Braedan, the young nephew of the Vanderbilts, does. Together they try to find out who is under that creepy black cloak before it’s too late.
This middle-grade horror story will appeal to kids who have a special affinity to animals. The character of Serafina is particularly interesting and strong-willed, and Braedan offers a secondary male character with eccentricities of his own. Readers who enjoyed Dark Life and Rip Tide or The Crowfield Curse series may particularly enjoy this novel.