Writer: Peter Spokes
Publishing House: Troubadour Publishing
Date of Publication: February 28th 2018
‘’Well, here we are again’’…, I started, ‘’…to share tales of the macabre, stories of ghostly happenings and narratives of things dark and beyond the grave.’’
This is a beautiful quote included in the first story of the collection. ‘’Good’’, I thought, ‘’we’re in for a spooky experience.’’ And I began to read and for the first four-five stories, I was delighted, And then, I began to slowly but steadily realize that this choice was a clear case in which the outstanding cover and the title fooled my reading instinct….
In this collection, the setting of the tales changes from England to Ireland to the USA. Variety is always nice. We meet with specters of faithful animals, werewolves with a humane side, cults dedicated to nature and the gods of old, angels worried over the fate of the human race, ghosts that don’t know they’re dead(…’’I see dead people…’’), philosophers and scientists who search for a deeper truth, living people who are tormented by the sins of the past, shapeshifters on an everlasting hunt…Fascinating, isn’t it? Well, it could have been. There is a focus on pagan traditions that is evident in the majority of the stories and it adds an interesting dimension. The nightly descriptions are beautiful, the natural environment throughout the stories reads like a mysterious canvas. If only the execution of the tales and the dialogue were as successful…
First of all, I must stress the fact that the choice to include scenes and chapters in the stories is very clever and adds to the ‘’scenery’’ of the work. However, many of the stories were predictable in a rather blunt, stale manner and some of them were plainly, intolerably bad. Even for an avid fan of ghost stories like myself. I skimmed through a few tales and I felt quite a bit frustrated upon reaching the end of others. Almost every character is naive or stupid. Ghosts and human beings alike…Methinks, this is an achievement. Furthermore, the vampires and werewolves seemed inspired by the current pop versions for teenagers and what was all the focus on Isis for? And let us not forget the Nephilim…
I’m not even finished yet…In my opinion, there was no need for so much swearing and vulgarity, especially given the period setting and I’m not sure I appreciated his jokes on the expense of Greek philosophers. I failed to see what was so hilarious about them. Also, when someone wants to include Alexander’s life (yes, THE Alexander) in one of their stories, they’d better do their homework before they presume to occupy themselves with such a larger-than-life historical figure. For many reasons, the overall writing was, in my opinion, disappointing. The ‘’O…kay’’ (yes, exactly as I wrote it!) exclamation drove me mad! This ‘’word’’ is generously used throughout the stories even when the setting is the 19th century of the early 20th century. Have you watched the BBC abomination ‘’Troy:Fall of a City’’? If you haven’t, God has bless you. If you have -like the masochist yours truly- you may remember Paris using the phrase ‘’It’s okay’’ to console Hecuba following Hector’s tragic death and abuse in the hands of Achilles. I mean, excuse me but where has Miss Sanity gone and who can bring her back to us?
If you read my reviews, you’ll have noticed by now that I read quite a lot of ghost stories and that Short Stories is one of my favourite genres. I’m afraid that I found this book utterly disappointing on all levels….
‘’The English language is such a wonderful thing and you really should let me introduce you to it sometime as I’m sure that (…) the two of you may never become the best of friends.’’
I mean, read the above quote. Does it look natural and flowing to you? I don’t know, perhaps the writer should follow his ‘’own’’ advice….
Many thanks to Troubadour Publishing and NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.