Category Archives: Book Review

Another Spooky Read: The Ghost Writer by John Harwood

The Ghost Writer by Joan Harwood features a librarian in a ghost story…my favourite subjects!

Gerard Freeman is a librarian living in Australia who is smitten with his mysterious pen pal, Alice. He is also obsessed with a story that he found hidden in his mother’s drawer that was written by his great-grandmother Viola;  a sinister ghost story!

His journey takes him to England where he discovers a connection between his great-grandmother’s sinister stories and his beautiful Alice.

This book has some good creepy moments and is a great little ghost story. The scares in this book are subtle and are psychological, rather than visceral. I wasn’t too crazy about the ending but I enjoyed the ride so I do recommend this novel overall if you enjoy a creepy, gothic ghost story.

The Haunting of Hill House: An Oldie but a Goodie

This time, a classic ghost story. My memories of this particular book are of my mother reading me the scary parts…when I was little! She did the same with The Shining (Stephen King)…no wonder I’m into the macabre! Thanks Mom!

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson was published in 1959 and features the well known scenario of 4 strangers that stay at a haunted house with the intent of proving or disproving that the house is actually haunted. There is some uncertainty as to whether or not the heroine, Eleanor, is actually experiencing these spooky happenings or is it all in her head?

I would say that for todays standards, it’s a very quiet but well-written chilling ghost story. If that’s what you’re into :)

It was made into a very well done movie starring Julie Harris as Eleanor in 1963 called The Haunting. The trailer is a little melodramatic but it serves its purpose :)

It was followed by a substandard adaptation in 1999 by the same name starring Catherine Zeta Jones, Liam Neeson, Owen Wilson, and Lili Taylor (who I usually like) as “Nell”. Truly not worth the watch!

If you enjoy supernatural stories, then I do recommend you read some of the classics in the genre, particularly The Haunting of Hill House.

Book Review Number Two: The King of Scary!

My next book review is on a book that has scared me like no other! Gerald’s Game by Stephen King

The plot is relatively simple…Jessie and her husband Gerald have started a little sex game in their cabin (in which no one knows they have gone to…of course!) when Gerald dies quite suddenly. Unfortunately, Jessie is handcuffed to the headboard on the bed. Some aspects of the story are quite gruesome (which should come as no surprise given the author), but King does an amazing job of getting inside a woman’s head.

Now, the reason this was the scariest book I’ve read is that it contains a small section (just a few pages) that had the most terrifying scene I have ever read! I actually had to put the book down and walk away as I couldn’t handle the fear and tension any longer! Never has a book had that effect on me…most books don’t really scare me at all! My library has the subject heading of “terror” for this one…appropriate much!?

This book is definitely not for all tastes and I’m sure not everyone will be as affected as I was but I will never be able to listen to The Joker by Steve Miller the same way again!

P.S. My apologies for the overuse of exclamation marks. However they were needed for this particular book!

Shall I Review My First Book? I Think So!

My first book review…perhaps a long time coming given my career. Again, just like in movies, and in life, I’m drawn to the supernatural so I would like to review one of my favourite spooky stories. The Woman in Black by Susan Hill.

I put a link to my library’s copy of the book on the above book cover but I’m sure it can be found in most public libraries.

This book was the perfect ghost story. It was a relatively short read but super creepy! The sense of dread and menace  were very effective. The book was published in 1983 but is written as though in Victorian times.  I realize that not everyone will agree with me and this is, after all, my opinion, but I consider myself to be a bit of an expert in the genre and this was one of my favourites!

It tells the story of a young solicitor by the name of Arthur Kipp who attends the funeral of Mrs. Alice Drablow. As part of settling her estate of Eel Marsh House (really!? Do you really want to stay at an isolated house with a name like that!?) he experiences some rather unsettling events. I won’t say anything else as I’m sure you get the idea!

This book will certainly gain much more attention now that there’s a movie coming out starring Daniel Radcliffe. If the movies ends up being half as good as the book, it will be scary indeed!

I hope you give this book a go…you might even enjoy it!