Monday, June 11, 2012

13 Scary Ghost Stories, edited by Marianne Carus

(pb; 2000: children's book/horror anthology. Illustrations by Yongsheng Xuan. Previously published as That's Ghosts For You: 13 Scary Stories)

From the back cover:

"Do you believe in ghosts, werewolves, and skeletons that come back to life? Prepare to meet thirteen of them, in this spine-tingling collection of scary stories. In these tales no place is safe - a ghost could appear in a crowded swimming pool, a sunny beach, or right in your own backyard! So get under the covers, grab a flashlight, and prepare to meet spirits from all over the world. . ."

Overall review:

Solid children's horror anthology with some mood-effective, fun and creative scares. Most of the works grabbed me, except for two - Susan Price's "That's Ghosts For You: An English Story," which is solid until its perhaps-too-understated finish (considering its target audience), and Frank O. Dodge's "Bones," which is a great-from-the-start read until its midway point, where the author suddenly rushes the story toward a jarring (and lame) denouement, as if he suddenly realized he had to respect a word limit, but didn't want to properly set up for its hackwork second half.

Thankfully, as I wrote before, most of the stories here are worthwhile for a chuckle or a chill. 13 Scary Ghost Stories is worth checking out from the library.

Standout stories:

1.) "Bigger than Death" - Nancy Etchemendy: A dog's mysterious dietary habits are revealed to be part of a sweeter, more pressing issue.

2.) "The Airi: An Indian Ghost Story" - Deepa Agarwal: An angry female ghost haunts snowy roads, to the chagrin of a feckless traveler. Excellent, fairy tale-esque.

3.) "Mary Jo & the Hairy Man" - Eric A. Kimmel: Texas-toned, effective boogie man story.

4.) "A Game of Puckeen: An Irish Ghost Story" - Kathleen M. Muldoon: Exemplary tale about a castle, ghosts and justice.

5.) "The Glashtyn: A Ghost Story from the Isle of Mann" - Josepha Sherman: A stranger in need isn't all that he seems.

6.) "The Night of the Weeping Woman" - Mary Kay Morel: Juvenile car thieves encounter a riverside ghost.

7.) "The Man Who Sang to Ghosts: A Japanese Ghost Story" - Aaron Shepard: A blind bard entertains spirits who may mean him harm.

Other stories:

"The Haunting of the Pipes: A Scottish Ghost Story" - Gerry Armstong; "A Place of Haunts" - Robert Culp; "The Mysterious Girl at the Pool" - Juanita Havill; "Triple Anchovies" - Marion Dane Baxter

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