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Search tags: ghost-stories
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review 2020-05-24 14:37
The Canterville Ghost
The Canterville Ghost - Oscar Wilde,Inga Moore

by Oscar Wilde

 

This is one of those Classic stories I've meant to read for years and have finally got to it. Oscar Wilde comes from an era when characters were written bigger than life, even when they are dead. Many clichés of ghost story writing, like blood stains that reappear after being cleaned up, are to be found in this one, but the reader should remember that Wilde probably wrote them first! His sometimes humorous take on ghostly activity set the tone for many stories that came after.

 

My only complaint would be that sometimes the ghost had too much physicality. The antics of the children who chose to torment him instead of fearing him might have had greater limitations if he couldn't slip on floors or have his dignity damaged by projectiles.

 

Later in the story, humour gives way to a poignant encounter with the little girl in the family who feels sorry for the ghost and his plight. The gamut of emotions that are woven through the tale make me want to read more of Oscar Wilde to discover his full potential as a writer.

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review 2020-05-02 13:49
Haunted Rails
Haunted Rails - Matthew L. Swayne

by Matthew L. Swayne

 

This is a very well researched collection of regional legends about ghost trains; actual full-sized trains that appear on abandoned tracks, usually in places where a major accident happened sometime in history.

 

The stories are presented as locals might tell them and it's left to the reader to decide how much to believe. I thought it was very well done, leaving room for the academic to study where these tales come from without the burden of belief (or not) to interfere with what is basically local folklore.

 

Well-presented and a fascinating read.

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review 2020-04-30 13:33
Ghost Summer: Stories
Ghost Summer: Stories - Tananarive Due

by Tananarive Due

 

Ghost Summer is a collection of imaginative Horror stories. The introduction tells us that the author is a black woman activist, which in my opinion makes it a little more interesting.

 

The stories are told in a casual, conversational tone, like someone telling a story round a campfire. At times the narrative moves a little slowly and becomes repetitive, but the payoff for Horror story lovers is some pretty bizarre stuff.

 

The title story, Ghost Summer, is novelette length and perhaps the best story of the collection, although I found the first story, The Lake, very interesting and it took me to some unexplored corners of imagination. Some of the plot points went by rather quickly, but the characters formed well and the experience of the narrator came across clearly.

 

This would make a good addition to any Horror book collection.

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review 2020-04-30 13:30
Ghost Story
Ghost Story - Jeff Brackett

by Jeff Brackett

 

This starts a little clunky as if the author is trying to shovel in too much information quickly, then settles into an even flow by the end of the first chapter. A ghost hunting team is investigating a house reported to be haunted. One of them is a psychic, balanced by the group sceptic. A full team with modern equipment sets up.

 

By the second chapter, the fun starts. I'm not going to go into what happens because there's a surprise ending and the potential for spoilers is too great, but I will say that lots does happen and I was at the edge of my seat for most of it.

 

I should add a trigger warning. No animals were hurt in the making of this story. Anything else is fair game. Normally a story like this would have exceeded my own violence tolerance, but the way it flowed just made it work too well. Characters were developed as much as you could expect in a short story but it is mostly action driven. I was scared for the main protagonist all the way to the end, and maybe even beyond.

 

The author's afterword was interesting as well. It tells the context that the idea for the story came in and mentions a familiar author involved in the same project. That in itself added a whole new dimension to the story.

 

If you want something to make you jump at every little noise in the house at night, read this one.

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review 2020-04-30 13:28
Ghost Boy
Ghost Boy - Stafford Betty

by Stafford Betty

 

Sometimes a book starts a little awkwardly, like the author was trying too hard to make a start and to get too many things in too soon or to make a special effort to mention some 'agenda'. I had to make a few allowances for this one because the story I was expecting to read, about a protagonist who sees ghosts, was worked into that crucial first chapter smoothly enough to hope for some good flow to the rest of the story.

 

It did flow well after, though I felt the narrative was 'young' for my taste, but it's targeted at YA and middle grade and I would say appropriate for the middle grade age group, apart from the diversions into conversations about 'God' that don't quite fit in and come across as if the author is laying ground to push young readers towards religious beliefs.

 

Ben Conover is a boy from a religious family, but he sees ghosts, especially a girl ghost who he calls Abby. His parents don't believe what he sees is real of course and try to get him to stop making comments about it. The story covers interactions with other kids, both friends and foes, as well as family members. There are a few lessons about following the lead of older kids, especially relatives, who do things you know aren't smart and about dealing with life in general from a 12-13 year old's perspective.

 

Overall I did enjoy the story, but it didn't really progress in a central theme and I thought the ending left some inconclusive loose ends. I liked Ben as a character, but I did think some of the situations could have been better developed or followed up.

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