I never expect much from short stories and I always end up disappointed or love half and dislike the rest. However, this short story collection is so perfect for Halloween I loved most of it. I read this back in October just before Halloween and it gave me all the creepy vibes that I was wanting. This haunting collection brings together all the aspects of Halloween you know and love creating brilliant short stories based on each factor. It is homely horror and although the collection although it does have aspects of horror it is easy to ready.
“That other person went away away. It’s just me now.”
These nine stories have something for everyone: a woman’s obsession with a scarecrow, a boy discovers his families Ouija board, two sisters convinced the other is toying with them, a girl’s bedroom which has a door only she can see, the obsession with television, a psychic on a police case, a man with an ice cream van, a man killed and brought back to life and a woman whose pregnancy doesn’t go as expected. Roth does an amazing job of diving into each of these stories and delve deep into the horrors of everyday life. The themes that this book covers, and the relatable characters makes this even more haunting.
My personal favourites were The Keepsake and Ice Cream Man. The Keepsake had you guessing the entire way through the book, and you could not tell where the horror aspect was going to come from until the very end. However, the Ice Cream Man went in the completely other direction, and you knew exactly where the story was going to go yet you did not know when the ending was going to happen. I do have to mention Always Say Goodbye which was so creepy and thrilling to read and it left you on the edge of your seat the entire time.
“The fire was a beast, eating, devouring everything in its path until it reached the porch.”
The only issue I had with this book as with most short stories is that I wish it was longer. Some of the stories could have benefited from just being a couple of pages longer such as Whispers from The Cellar. Other than that, the atmosphere was perfect for Halloween and the characters were so interesting to see their reactions and relate to them. This collection definitely had a vintage book vibe to it which I always love. There was plenty of variation between the stories which kept it fun and entertaining the entire way through.
Overall, I loved this collection and I really want to read some of his backlist short story collections. I gave it a three and a half stars as with any short story collections I loved some and did not like others as much. The atmospheric vibe gave me Stranger Things mixed with My Best Friends Exorcism so anyone that loves those things should definitely pick this one up.
Thank you to NetGalley for this copy to read and review!