The Books of Elsewhere: The Strangers, which is Book 4 in the series, was written by Jacqueline West and illustrated by Poly Bernatene . My beautiful uncorrected proof was courteous of the author, and is set for release July 16th 2013. This book is by far my favorite of the series (I should say thus far, because there is one more book slated for 2014).
From Goodreads :
" Olive thought she'd uncovered all the house's secrets. She was wrong.
It's Halloween night when strangers come to Linden Street...and something dear to Olive goes missing. To what lengths will she go to get it back? Can she trust the strangers? Will she turn to a new and dangerous magic within the paintings of Elsewhere? Or will she put her faith in her own worst enemies to save the people and home she loves?
The stakes grow higher, the secrets more dangerous, and mystery and magic abound as Olive, the boys, and the cats uncover the true nature of the house on Linden Street. A must-read fantasy series for fans of Pseudonymous Bosch, Coraline, and Septimus Heap."
In the fourth installment, Mrs. West does a remarkable job of building on the suspense of the previous books, increasing it in such a way that is not to scary. Instead, capturing the suspense, mystery and intrigue by the beautiful poetic way in which she writes. "Above them, the purple sky was deepening to black. The moon, like a sliver of sharpened bone slit the trails of passing clouds..." and my favorite line "Twists of black crepe paper threaded the warm air, where the smells of popcorn and caramel mingled in a sugary fog..." Can't you just smell the popcorn in the air? If that wasn't enough, the illustrations are gorgeous and too capture the mood of the season with one of my favorites being Olive and her friends dressed up in costumes for a Halloween carnival. What is also so beautiful is the way in which she captures the friendship between Olive and Morton. Olive is such a wonderful character, she is the first to blame herself in a situation and time and time again she puts trust in the wrong people. It's what makes her so believable and you can relate to her seeing her struggle as she tries to unravel what is going on inside her house. I also love how Olive is so loyal to her friends and despite all her current difficulties she is still trying to help Morton find his parents. I also love to see Olive beginning to make a connection to this creepy old house and feeling like it is her home and not that of the McManus family. This is one of those series were the author does a very nice job of catching the reader up on what is happening in the plot. I can see children who like a scary story with beautiful illustrations would also find this book very appealing. And if that isn't enough there are also three wonderful cats that help protect the house and Olive each with their very own distinctive personality too. Overall, a five out of five book for me.