Somewhere out there in Facebook land, in one of the many groups to which I belong, I came across a post that was advertising a free book! We indie authors are forced to give away books from time to time order to gain exposure. The title grabbed me right away: Hauntings: Three Haunted House Novellas. Now how can a haunted house guy like me pass on this? I couldn’t. So I downloaded it, read it, overall I liked it, and now I’m reviewing it. Thus, the authors’ giveaway campaign has bared some fruit. Not that my review equates to an orchard of apples or anything. At least, put me down as one single peach!
As with other anthologies, there are some stories that I prefer over others. But I’m not going to delve into the nitty-gritties of my individual preferences. They are purely subjective and would negate from the fact that all these stories have their strengths. Like the three legs of a tripod, they have a solid-enough structure to support the novel as a whole. And it doesn’t matter so much that these legs aren’t examples of the most innovative feats in engineering! They are standard legs, standard stories – but they do their job. Perhaps they can use a bit of polishing here and there (another round of editing). But as an indie author myself; I know how difficult editing can be (especially when you can’t afford a professional).
What I would like to do is: very briefly, I will summarize each story and then itemize the elements that stand out; the story components that have made a lasting impression on my memory.
First there is The Haunting of Monroe House by Olivia Harlowe. A pregnant couple rents a house in the country. Is it haunted, or is there something about Sam’s pregnancy that is making everything so – strange? Here are the things that stand out – the peacocks, that scary closet, those wall-scratching noises, the farmer and his wife; an interesting couple indeed; characters well written.
Second there is The Haunting of Briarwood Lodge by Violet Archer. Colin inherits a lodge house that is the taboo of the town. No one will go near it. Except a young woman named Juno. Together, Colin and Juno explore the strange happenings that are going on at Briarwood Lodge. Here are the things that stand out – The attic window, the corridors, that circle of chairs, the poltergeist-style activity. Oh, and how the house can, at will, lock its inhabitants inside!
Third, there is The Haunting of Briarwood Lodge by Mason Graves. Tom and Rebecca move into a new home. Tom is spooked by the stories surrounding the history of the house. Rebecca dismisses them as myths. Who is correct? Here are the things that stand out – Tom’s journey into the crawlspace, the mystery surrounding the original owners of the house, and the weird old lady that stalks the house.
All in all, this is a fun read. Perhaps there will be more haunted house tales to come from this trio? There is a website that hints at this, although it is a bit empty at the moment.
Also, Violet Archer has many creepy short stories (each several paragraphs long) at her blog