Gustav Gloom and the People Taker (#1)

Next: Gustav Gloom and the Nightmare Vault (#2)

Enter an exciting new world of shadows from Hugo Award nominee Adam-Troy Castro. Meet Gustav Gloom. 

Fernie What finds herself lost in the Gloom mansion after her cat appears to have been chased there by its own shadow. Fernie discovers a library full of every book that was never written, a gallery of statues that are just plain awkward, and finds herself at dinner watching her own shadow take part in the feast! 

Along the way Fernie is chased by the People Taker who is determined to take her to the Shadow Country. It’s up to Fernie and Gustav to stop the People Taker before he takes Fernie’s family. 

Featuring a unique cover and beautifully dark full-page illustrations by Kristen Margiotta, Gustav Gloom is sure to be a hit with fans who love a little darkness in their lives.


“In this promising series opener, a homicidal maniac stalks two children through a spooky old house that’s far larger inside than outside […] The author leaves much to be explored and explained in future episodes, but fans of [Lemony Snicket's Series of] Unfortunate Events will be willing to wait.”


“Here’s a great read for fans of dark tales with happy endings, not to mention wonderful graphite illustrations…the eternal theme of friendship is beautifully explored in the relationship that develops between Fernie and Gustav. Castro’s well-paced story keeps readers engaged in these relationships and in the mystery that unfolds. This is a satisfying introduction for middle grade readers into the scary and dark themes that resonate so well with teens. Fans of Adam Gidwitz’s A TALE DARK AND GRIMM (Dutton, 2010) can add this to their list of creepy tales.”

School Library Journal

“[This] is a fun adventure novel […] It’s optimistic about people, especially our ability to do the right thing, and the scariest parts are also the funniest parts. Most of all, the friendship that develops between Gustav and Fernie is really nice, and doesn’t ever put either of them in the position of sidekick or tag-along. Definitely worth picking up.”

“GUSTAV GLOOM is a very exciting story […] filled to the brim with ideas that will make you ponder the concept of shadows and whether they are really alive.”

Deseret News

“One of those books that grown children keep and pass on to their own kids.”

More Miami Guide

“Fernie and Gustav’s adventure is bizarre, wonderful, and totally engrossing. The word play, puns and the clever, sometimes tongue-in-cheek descriptions will entertain young readers and adults who are young at heart […] Highly Recommended.”


“This is a great tweener horror thriller starring two delightful ten year old children […] Adam-Troy Castro’s exciting tale is enhanced by Kristen Margiotta’s wonderful illustrations that affirm Gustav Gloom looks like the unhappiest child ever seen.”

Worlds of Wonder

"Really fast read. [...] I love the characters"

SF Book Review

Awards & Accolades


Scholastic Book Club Pick


Amazon Editor's Pick in Best Books Ages 9-12