Similar to his Lewis Barnavelt series from the previous decade, the Dixon series introduced readers to a timid, young hero who has been forcibly moved from his comfort zone into a new environment. The difference here is that Johnny’s mother is dead of cancer and his father is overseas in the Korean War. The two series are also alike in that they each have supernatural overtones, unlike the initial outing in the Anthony Monday series.
Bellairs spent a majority of his writing career documenting the adventures of Johnny and his elderly friend, Professor Roderick Childermass, churning out eight novels in a seven year period, including The Mummy, the Will, and the Crypt; The Spell of the Sorcerer's Skull; and the time-traveling jaunt, The Trolley to Yesterday. The series expanded in its subsequent years to include a stalwart secondary cast of Byron “Fergie” Ferguson, Professor Charles Coote, Sarah Channing, and Father Thomas Higgins, through which Bellairs injected a number of Catholic rites and remembrances into the novels.
In 1994, Brad Strickland completed The Drum, the Doll, and the Zombie - as well as three Lewis Barnavelt books - from notes Bellairs had compiled prior to his death. Due to the popularity of the four manuscripts, Strickland went on to complete new adventures in the Lewis Barnavelt and Johnny Dixon series. The Hand of the Necromancer (1996), the first novel in the entire Bellairs Corpus written entirely by Strickland, proved successful enough to warrant two additional books before the 12-book series went on hiatus in 1999. Following the 2005 settlement of the Bellairs estate, Strickland agreed to compose new adventures though none featuring Dixon surfaced.
By John Bellairs
- The Curse of the Blue Figurine (1983)
- The Mummy, the Will, and the Crypt (1983)
- The Spell of the Sorcerer's Skull (1984)
- The Revenge of the Wizard's Ghost (1985)
- The Eyes of the Killer Robot (1986)
- The Trolley to Yesterday (1989)
- The Chessmen of Doom (1989)
- The Secret of the Underground Room (1990)
By John Bellairs, Completed by Brad Strickland
By Brad Strickland
- The Hand of the Necromancer (1996)
- The Bell, the Book, and the Spellbinder (1997)
- The Wrath of the Grinning Ghost (1999)
- French publisher Editions du Rocher grouped the 8-book series under the banner, Les aventures de Johnny Dixon.
|Johnny Dixon Series|
|By John Bellairs|
|Completed by Brad Strickland|
|By Brad Strickland|
|Who's who||Johnny Dixon | Byron Ferguson | Roderick Childermass | Thomas Higgins | Charles Coote | Henry Dixon | Kate Dixon | Sarah Channing|
|What's what||Saint Michael's Catholic Church|
|Where's there||Duston Heights, Massachusetts|