The Black Book of Secrets is by F.E. Higgins. The first book in the Tales from the Sinister City series. Ludlow Fitch is running away from his drunken family, he escapes the city and finds himself in a small mountain village where he is taken in to work for a mysterious man, Joe Zabbidou, who is a pawnbroker of secrets. Ludlow begins to write people's secrets in the "Black Book" and tries to understand how Joe's business works. A creepy and cautionary tale. I hope the rest of the books in this series are this inventive and well written.
Ratings: 8th grade - 9 out of 10.