The Ghost Quartet: Book Review

Hello and happy Monday!

Hallowe’en is over and winter is coming, which I am looking forward to! I can hear my sweaters calling me from my closet.

But you’re not here for my appreciation of cold weather, you’re here for a review! Published in 2008, The Ghost Quartet is a collection of four ghost stories (quelle surprise) and this review, as per my norm, will be as spoiler-free as possible. So carry on!

Authors

The collection was edited by Marvin Kaye and features Tanith Lee, Brian Lumley, Orson Scott Card, and Marvin Kaye himself. Here’s a brief bio about each of them:

Marvin Kaye

Besides being an author, Marvin Kaye worked as a reporter, an editor (one of the magazines he worked as an editor for was none other than Weird Tales), a lecturer, a freelance writer, and an adjunct professor. Kaye has edited a number of horror anthologies besides the one I am reviewing today, and has written over a dozen novels of his own.

Tanith Lee

Tanith Lee is one of my favourite writers. She is a British sci-fi and fantasy author and has about 90 novels and over 300 short stories to her name. She has been the recipient of multiple World Fantasy Society Derleth Awards, the World Fantasy Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Bram Stoker Award for Lifetime Achievement in Horror.

Brian Lumley

Mr. Lumley has been featured on my website before when I reviewed his Mythos Omnibus (v. 1) Like Lee, Lumley is a British author and also has a hefty publication count (130 short stories and 33 novels). He became popular first in the 1970s, writing in the Cthulhu Mythos, then went on to create his best-selling Necroscope series.

Orson Scott Card

Orson Scott Card is an American author, best known for his sci-fi though he has written in several other genres as well. He is the recipient of both the Hugo and Nebula Awards. He is famous for his novels Ender’s Game and Speaker for the Dead, as well as the Locus Fantasy award-winning series The Tales of Alvin Maker.

The Stories

A Place of Waiting by Brian Lumley

The opening tale is set on the moors of Devon, England and features a young man escaping the grief of his mother’s death by going to the countryside to paint. There he encounters a red-eyed specter that refuses to accept his own death.

Hamlet’s Father by Orson Scott Card

This tale puts a fresh twist on the story of Hamlet and his encounter with his father’s ghost. In this story, when Hamlet begins his quest for revenge, he discovers something more haunting about his father’s past than his father’s ghost itself.

The Haunted Single Malt by Marvin Kaye

This story revolves around a single malt whiskey, a dark tale of history, and a plan of revenge several decades in the making.

Strindberg’s Ghost Sonata by Tanith Lee

Set in Russia in an alternate timeline, a man is rescued from certain death and brought to a tenement building to recover. His stay there is not peaceful though, as he soon realizes that he is not a guest but a prisoner.

Review

Well that was a long intro into this review, wasn’t it?

This is a great collection of stories from four amazing writers. All four of the stories were very unique and enjoyable.

Card’s “Hamlet’s Father” stuck with me because it was especially creepy. It unfolds slowly, really allowing the dread to set in right before the big reveal while “The Haunted Single Malt” was memorable for its very unique concept of a haunted beverage.

“Strindberg’s Ghost Sonata” has a claustrophobic atmosphere that greatly increases the suspense of the story. Finally “A Place of Waiting” has the good old-fashioned feel of a classic ghost tale.

All in all, a great collection for any horror reader to have and enjoy.

8/10

x P.L. McMillan

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