Next up in Book Battle 2015 Ghost Story by Peter Straub. This book was recommended to me by my local used book store owner. He said that Straub is one of the originators of the new horror genre. This book is a bit of a continuation from last time since it’s a book that scares you. I had a had time with this one at first, like the book that will make you cry or laugh, because how do you know if you will be scared if you haven’t read the book before? So I took it out of my hands and asked google for the scariest books and this one came up. Since it was already recommended to me, and I’ve been wanting to read it ever since I bought it, I knew this was the one.
From the book jacket, the plot sounds intriguing. It’s supposed to be a take on Henry James’s Turn of the Screw and Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short stories. In the vein of more psychological Hitchcockian suspense as opposed to the slasher horror genre. I can’t wait to see if it’s true. I loved Turn of the Screw, and the movie with Deborah Kerr which scared the bejeezus out of me. Suspense based scares are my favorite. I don’t particularly like super gory. I like the scares that make you think a little about the future implications and ramifications to the characters and the story universe. Psycho stands out in my mind as a good psychological suspense story, true with a bit of gore. The end scene of the movie with Norman Bates gives me the chills.
As the title suggests, this story is going to be a ghost filled one, whether that’s ghosts from the past coming back to haunt you or real actual ghosts I don’t know. We’ll find out together.
Stay tuned for the review of Ghost Story. Happy reading!
A small Vermont town surrounded by legends of the undead and plagued by mysterious disappearances for as long as anyone can remember. Only a dead woman’s diary holds the answer to West Hall’s dark past. But will the diary be used for good or to perpetuate more evil. Will a person’s desire overwhelm their common sense?
This is the basis of Jennifer McMahon’s The Winter People. The story starts and ends with the words of Sara Harrison Shea. She is the basis for the horror that has befallen West Hall, Vermont. Told in many different perspectives, the story slowly begins the story of the town and what has been plaguing it’s people for centuries. Two people in the present find Sara’s diary explaining the origins of West Hall’s ghosts. First Ruthie finds the diary after she wakes up to discover her other missing from their home. In her search for her mother, she and her sister Fawn discover an ancient diary and wallets from people they have never heard of buried in the floorboards. The second person to discover the diary is Katherine, a woman overcome by grief who moves to West Hall to find out why her husband went to the town the day he died.
The story moves along swiftly, the best parts in my opinion are the bits from Sara Harrison Shea’s diary. The story is very suspenseful and like all good ghost stories did make me look over my shoulder from time to time. Things going bump in the closet have always terrified me since I was a kid and this story awakened those fears a bit. The undead in the closet, shiver.
I did think, however, that at times McMahon had way too many plot lines going at once. She started out simply and it worked. I was intrigued and wanted to know. And then she introduced at least five other plot lines and it lessened the suspense for me. The additional plot lines kind of diluted the ghost story. I understand why she did it after finishing the novel but still feel like I would have liked it more without so many parallel plot lines. It took the focus off the ghost story/horror aspect and made it more like an action movie. The story of Sara Harrison Shea could have well stood on it’s own, even throw in Ruthie and her family. But the rest feel superfluous. It almost felt like McMahon had to scramble to figure out how to tie up all the loose ends in the plot and had to add all of these additional characters and plots in order to do so.
Even with the extra plot lines, the main story is fantastic. It made my skin crawl in places and made my heart beat quicker. I love a good scary story and the main thread in this novel is a great one. Read it yourself and find out how sleepers come back to life and, in some cases, live for eternity.
Stay tuned for the next installment of Book Battle 2015. Happy reading!
Since reading the Veronica Mars novel Mr. Kiss and Tell, I’ve been feeling nostalgic so I decided to read a favorite book from my childhood for this part of the Battle. The novel is Dreadful Sorry by Kathryn Reiss. I was totally obsessed with this book in elementary school and on through middle school. I must have read it at least 3 times over the course of a few years. I remember being so intrigued by the plot and the characters.
Essentially, from what I remember, the plot revolved around a girl named Molly who suffers from a crippling fear of water and drawing. She has terrible nightmares about something that happens in the past and must find what the connection is between herself and a girl that died many years ago in a different time and place.
Now I’ve always been a big fan of ghost stories and mysteries which is probably why this book appealed so much to me. I devoured R.L. Stein Fear Street novels, Christopher Pike, and Diane Hoh. Novelists that always kept you on your toes and created story lines that sent chills down your spine.
The only thing I hope is that the novel stands the test of time and that I’ll still enjoy it just as much as I did as a child, which is hard. Many of the other novelists have not stood the test of time. Things I loved as a kid I just scratch my head at now. Here’s to hoping this novel will not be one of those.
Happy reading fellow Book Battlers! Let me know what your favorite reads were as a child!