Irish Independent | 01 May 2010 |

Parents worldwide owe a great debt to both Darren Shan and Derek Landy for keeping their teenagers reading. Two of the most successful children's writers this country has ever produced, along with Eoin Colfer, they have both created their own distinct genres, and continue to fly the flag for highly addictive, internationally successful, home-grown fiction.

Shan has a surprisingly low profile in Ireland considering he has sold over 15 million books in 31 different languages, and has one Hollywood film already under his belt.

His latest novel, The Thin Executioner, doesn't disappoint.

A heady tale, billed as 'One Thousand and One Nightmares', it charts the journey of Jebel Rum, the Executioner's son, from skinny no-hoper to rightful successor to his father's 'crown', via much bloody slaughter and a quest to the faraway lair of a mysterious god.

Subtle it ain't, the book opens with another axed head 'rolling into the dust' but Shan is a consummate storyteller, drawing the reader into his dark, mysterious world and in this book his prose is as sharp and deft as any executioner's axe.

Skulduggery Pleasant: Dark Days, is also deftly written. Book four in the skeleton detective series, it's loaded with Landy's customary witty dialogue, well-named villains like Dreylan Scarab, and slick descriptions.

Landy went from working on his parents' farm in north Co Dublin to becoming an international bestseller, with an initial contract worth a million for the first Skulduggery book. In this one, his teen Lara Croft, Valkyrie, plans to rescue Skulduggery, who was sucked into a parallel dimension in the last book, but she has to avoid those who want to kill her first.

If you want to keep your teens interested in books, look no further. Landy and Shan are your only men.

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