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    What I've Read: Halloween Edition

    Tuesday, October 16, 2012

    To get into the Halloween spirit, I've been cozying up with some spooky books these last few weeks. Some were written by authors known for their talents of terrifying readers with their fiction, while others are of the home-spun variety, using tales based on real events.

    I do love a good Southern ghost story!

    Here's what I've been reading:


    Dean Koontz's "What the Night Knows" is one of his more recent books, but it harkens back to what made him a best-selling author in the first place. He takes the average joe and drops him into a terrifying situation, facing enemies of both the natural and supernatural world. The shadows hold more secrets than any one person would care to learn about, but that's exactly what Homicide Detective John Calvino finds himself on a mission to do. In order to protect his family from a copy-cat killer, he has to find the ability to believe in the impossible, accepting that sometimes death is only the next part of something darker and more sinister. "What the Night Knows" is a great chiller. It's not terribly complicated, but is filled with many suspenseful moments guarunteed to have you leaving your lights on.

    "The Cemetery Dance" by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child is book 9 in their Pendergast series, and definitely one of the scarier. You may be familiar with Preston & Child's first book, "The Relic". It was made into a terrible movie starring Tom Sizemore and Penelope Ann Miller back in the 90's. From start to finish it was a train wreck, completely dropping the Pendergast character from the story line~which was the most tragic flaw, in my humble opinion. In any case, you can read this as a stand alone as the authors are kind enough to briefly delve into the backgrounds of their characters in each book. Pendergast, however, and Lt. Vincent D'Agosta, are two men you're never likely to forget. This time around, zombies and voodoo~something we New Orleanians know a little something about~are at the center of a sad, disturbing case. As they always do, the authors rely on superstition to whet your appetite, only to cleverly explain away situations with science.

    "Dixie Spirits" was a discovery from the bargain section at Barnes and Noble. I count my blessings that Ruth was there to nudge me along and buy it (especially since it was the last one). Returning to my Southern roots, Christopher K. Coleman's "Dixie Spirits" is a collection of tales of the strange and supernatural from every single Southern state. Even Missouri. Most likely you've probably heard a few of them, but when Ruth told me that there was a great deal of truth to the Alabama tale "Face in the Courthouse Window", as in she saw the face, I was a little hesitant to jump in. That's right friends, much as I love a good scary movie or book, if you tell me it's real I turn into a big chicken. BGAWK! Most of these tales are based on good old-fashioned folk lore, but you know if you're from the city you're reading about that there is a grain of truth to each and every story. How far do those scary truths go? It's up for you, the reader, to decide.

    "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies". What can I say? You take a classic Jane Austen and give is a Seth Grahame-Smith zombie spin and...it's hilarious. Nothing about the actual story has changed with the exception of the insertion of the zombies, and managing to successfully capture the same tone as Austen, Grahame-Smith has the characters coping with their grave dilema with great decorum and dry humor. It's a fun read, and I love the butt-kicking Elizabeth Bennet more than ever.

    I cannot complete this list without including Kathryn Tucker Windham's book, "Jeffery's Favorite 13 Ghost Stories". Miss Windham chose these very specific tales with the help of Jeffery, the ghost who lives in her house. Yes, I did say ghost. He helped her to pick out the best ghost stories from the south and compile them into this book. The stories are good, rich, descriptive, and very haunting. It's no wonder Miss Windham is one of our country's best story tellers. This is the book on ghostly southern tales, and as such, one that should be enjoyed during this frightful time of year!

    Are you reading any spooky tales to get into the Halloween spirit?

    One Response to “
    What I've Read: Halloween Edition

    Ruth said...

    I am glad you found one of the Jeffrey books. You are bound to find the story again of the Face in the Window. Don't forget the others