Ghost Story was a ground-breaking classic written in 1979 that set the bar a mile high for any paranormal tale to come after it. Straub's story isn't a quick read. It's a slow burn through multiple layers that weave in and out of the story. That doesn't mean it's a bad thing. On the contrary, I loved the eerie atmosphere he created along with such detailed characters that weren't flat and one-dimensional. I've read a few negative reviews on here and the common theme is that it was too much or they found it boring. I feel bad for these people that they have no patience and that their short attention spans won't let such a wonderful tale slowly unfold before their very eyes. For those of you that don't want fast food horror and enjoy savoring a creepy atmospheric tale, look no further.
When I say that this story is layered, I mean thick, rich multiple layers. It's set in the small, idyllic town of Milburn in rural New York. In 1979, there is no mention of chain stores or houses that all look alike in Milburn. These are mom and pop run places and every home is as unique as the residents that live in them. A group of older gentlemen that call themselves the Chowder Society meet at a different member's home every month. The rules are that they wear evening clothes, don't drink too much, and rotate through the members on who was going to tell a story for that evening. The meeting following the peculiar death of one of their members, to break the tension, a member asked "What's the worst thing you've ever done?" To which he replied, "I won't tell you that, but I'll tell you the worst thing that ever happened to me...the most dreadful thing." And so the ritual of telling ghost stories began. Unfortunately, this also brought on the nightmares that would plague the members. You see, fifty years ago they were part of a terrible accident and a young girl died and now she wants her revenge.
Straub creates such a realistic setting in Milburn that you'd swear he was from NY. Oddly enough, he grew up in Wisconsin. The atmosphere and character development is what makes Ghost Story so effective. The bitter cold of the winter blizzard. The isolationism of being cut off from one another. The eerie dread that permeates through the story as you try to decipher what is real and what is imagination. So kick back in your recliner. Have a drink by your side and let Straub chill you to the bones with this tale.
A great horror novel about four aging men in a terror-stricken town. An act inadvertently carried out in their youth has come back to haunt them and now they are about to learn what happens to those who believe they can bury the past & get away with murder.
Scary. Not one of the books you read where you can predict the ending. Kept me wondering.
Classic horror novel. Reminiscent of Stephen King or Dean Koontz.
I was confused by the story until the middle of the book when things began to make sense. Straub does an excellent job of not letting the reader know who or what is the ghost until the end. Not your typical ghost story at all and full of great characters. I wonderful read.