My Current Read: Small Ghosts, a Horrifying Novella of a Serial Killer & the Ghosts of His Victims by Paul Lewis, 2017, Info+Links

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Cover art by Daniele Serra.

When his grandfather, a former policeman, is hospitalized after suffering a stroke, recently-widowed journalist Tom Maitland returns to his home town to support his mother, despite their strained relationship. Tom ends up staying at his grandfather’s (a former police officer) now-empty cottage, where he becomes intrigued by a disturbing murder case the old man had once investigated and failed to solve. The more Tom looks into the case, the more unsettling it all becomes, as events start to take a decidedly supernatural turn…

Blurbs by Two Authors I Highly Recommend!

“Small Ghosts is a compelling novella that tackles one of society’s greatest fears in a refreshing and original way. Lewis gives us a story that spans more than the bounds such a short form should allow, with characters that convince and intrigue and a plot that refuses to take you where you might expect. Engaging, entertaining, and expertly told.”

Ray Cluley, author (Ray Cluley’s Website)…Some Books by Ray Clulely:

“Small Ghosts is a dark surprise. A story of misgiven detection and dreadful revelations, elegantly crafted against a background of supernatural dread.”

Paul Meloy, author (Check Paul out on Wiki)…Some books by Paul Meloy:

A Short Review from the Graveyard…

Ex-journalist Tom Maitland is still trying to get his life in order after the unexpected loss of his beloved wife, when he learns that his grandfather is in hospital near death from a stroke. He has no love for the man, but agrees to meet his mother (the sick man’s daughter) at a café. She persuades him to check that his grandfather’s bungalow is secure. Once there he catches a glimpse of a boy who simply vanishes. But this is just the start of a bigger mystery. News clippings are discovered dating back to when his grandfather led the police investigation into the deaths of two young boys and a third who was still missing. Curiosity piqued, Tom’s journalistic instincts take over to the point it begins to take over his life…

This is an 108-page novelette written by Paul Lewis (comedy sketch writer and author of The Savage Knight) and published on good quality paper by Telos. The prose makes for comfortable reading, and the story avoids convoluted plot strands. Thankfully, it keeps to the point and concentrates on characterisation; namely, the protagonist and his mother. I would say that the witnesses and the all the answers he seeks fall comfortably into Maitland’s hands, without the requirement to venture very much out of the local area of his grandfather’s bungalow. Additionally, certain elements of the tale are somewhat predictable. However, I did get drawn in by the human element, and was only half right when predicting the ending.

It’s an enjoyable but regrettably short book, which may well cause people to balk at the £9.99 RRP. A nice saving grace is that my copy is one of a limited number of signed copies by the author.

(http://www.reviewgraveyard.com/00_revs/r2017/book/17-04-02_small-ghosts.html)

Get the novella, in collectible paperback format, from the publisher, here…

https://telos.co.uk/shop/horror-dark-fantasy-and-science-fiction/small-ghosts/

Get the ebook from Amazon, here…

“Monty” James & The Ghost Story—There’s Nothing More Frightening Than Reading “the Master”…

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I watched a BBC documentary today on YouTube (link below), narrated by the brilliant Mark Gatiss (Sherlock), about 19th-century ghost story writer Montague Rhodes James, aka. M. R. James—or, if you knew him well: just plain ol’ “Monty” James. I’m not sure whether “knowing him well” would have been a plus or a minus after having watched the documentary, entitled M. R. James: Ghost Writer, which focused on James’ keen ability to write terrifying ghost stories.

It was uncanny. What the heck went on in that antiquarian head of his? Do we even want to know? I mean—the man could scare the trousers off a college boy.

(A little inside joke— no offense, Monty.) 😏

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Robert Lloyd Parry as M. R. James in the 2013 BBC documentary “M. R. James: Ghost Writer” (YouTube below).


James is known the world over as the undisputed master of the “English” ghost story—although, why we need to qualify these stories as “English” is beyond me…slow your roll, Liz—your fanny may be on the throne, but that doesn’t mean you have the power to run the rest of us! 👑🤚

We are all collectively “human” in the end, aren’t we?

Monty James was, and still is, the master of the “human” ghost story.

If you haven’t read the ghost stories of M. R. James, you should.

You can own the complete stories in a book that fits in the palm of your hand (see my photo below)—or a larger, illustrated edition; or a collectible first edition—whatever suits your ghostly fancy.

Just be warned. These stories aren’t for the night time—well, I mean they are—but they aren’t—it’s all about the resolve of your nerve. (I was going to say “it’s all about the size of your balls”…but Liz is listening.🍒)

The story that caught my attention—“Lost Hearts”—is one I’ve not yet had the pleasure of reading. In the documentary today, Monty—brilliantly acted by Robert Lloyd Parry, a man who not only resembles M. R. James, but has a little snarl to his smile that sorta makes you wonder—is reading “Lost Hearts” to a group of 19th-century Oxford boys, at night, with nothing but the golden glow of a candle…quivering.

He reaches the point in the tale where the spectre of a young boy appears to Stephen Elliott—anoher young boy, this one very much alive—and Stephen notices the spectre’s clawlike fingernails—which have left scratch marks on the bedroom door, and tears in Stephen’s nightshirts—over the chest area…

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