Things That Go Bump in the Night

Maybe it’s in my genes. As a kid growing up, my grandparents believed that when things went bump in the night, there was probably something there. As far as they were concerned, ghosts were as real as tomato soup, though even harder to pin to the wall. They believed in magic anything, full fat everything and moose meat.

I never got the moose meat thing. Full fat we won’t talk about. But ghosts, magic and all things paranormal? Yes. Curiously, vampires were not part of the equation. Their tastes extended more to episodes of The Ghost and Mrs. Muir or The Twilight Zone. I’m sure it’s due, in part, to my grandparents that I adored paranormal fiction long before it was even categorized.

So in honor of my grandparents and All Hallow’s Eve which is thought to be that time of year when the veil between this world and the next is at its thinnest, here are a few books featuring ghosts, magic and things that go bump in the night.

Heather Graham’s Bone Island Trilogy (Ghost Night; Ghost Moon; Ghost Shadow) is set in richly detailed Key West, which becomes a character in itself. While the books are loosely connected, they’re very much stand alone reads. Spooky, sensual and layered with history, the stories make you think and the ghosts make you laugh, particularly Bartholomew, the pirate (correction privateer) who is afraid of a haunted house.

Grittier is Kat Richardson’s urban fantasy Greywalker series. Harper Blaine is a private investigator living in Seattle. After dying for two minutes and being revived, she discovers she can see ghosts and has become a Greywalker, a person able to move through the grey, that area that exists between our world and the next. Though these stories are designed to stand alone, I started this series with book 4 (Vanished) but felt lost a few times. Only after going back and starting with book one (Greywalker) was I hooked.

In the YA realm, I’m currently engrossed in Kimberly Derting’s The Body Finder series. Violet Ambrose has kept her ability to sense dead bodies a secret from everyone but her family and her maybe-he-is, maybe-he-isn’t boyfriend, Jay. And Violet doesn’t sense just any old bodies. Only the echoes from people who have been murdered. Book one (The Body Finder) sets up books two and three (Desires of the Dead and The Last Echo.) Creepily well done, especially the passages in book one told from the pov of the murderer.

Lighter in tone (and not new but worth seeking out) is Meg Cabot’s six book Mediator series. Protagonist Susie Simon has been able to see and speak to ghosts all her life. As a mediator it’s her job to help ghosts deal with their unfinished business so they can move on. Saddled with several annoying step-brothers who keep things entertaining, it’s the sexy 150 year old ghost named Jesse haunting her bedroom who keeps things hot. These are some of my favorite Cabot books which is why they’re staying on my keeper shelf.

Finally, there is Jennifer Crusie’s first new novel in several years – Maybe This Time. A new twist on an old classic (Turn of the Screw), Maybe This Time is trademark Crusie with wacky relatives, witty one-liners and a fabulous heroine named Andromeda (Andie) Miller. There’s romance too but in this novel the ghosts prevail. And while they aren’t scary enough to keep you awake at night the story is so good it probably will.  

 What is your favorite ghost story these days?

Article written by

By the time she hit Grade Four, Laura Tobias knew she wanted to be a writer. So did the teachers. It was the persistent daydreaming and invisible friends that tipped them off. Since Laura grew up knowing no writers – and consequently didn’t know how to be one – she became a journalist instead. The trouble is, journalists are expected to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. But making stuff up is way more fun. So Laura traded one notebook for another and today she writes romance and women’s fiction. She lives on Vancouver Island with a pair of Shetland sheepdogs, her high school sweetheart (Mr. Petrol Head) and her son (Teen Freud). She’s also the award-winning author of 15 books for teens and children writing as Laura Langston: Also find her at and occasionally at

7 Responses

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  1. EC Sheedy
    EC Sheedy at | | Reply

    I love it when I get recs for books! And I love every reminder of that old movie, The Ghost and Mrs Muir. It’s one of my all time favorites films.

    I didn’t know about Jennifer Crusie’s new book. I’ll definitely have to look into that. Love her humor.

    Thanks, Laura. Not that I need any more books added to my TBR piles, either beside my bed or in my Kindle. I keep threatening to fly off to a desert island just to catch up–but then I realize catching up is not a possibility. Ever. Oddly this makes me happy.

  2. Laura Tobias
    Laura Tobias at | | Reply

    Thank God we’ll never conquer our TBR piles. That would mean no new books and I’d be stuck reading the backs of cereal boxes which would seriously suck! And result in way too much food litter beside my bed.

  3. Bonnie Edwards
    Bonnie Edwards at | | Reply

    Laura, some wonderful suggestions here, but *ahem* you’ve done a story with a spirit, titled Exit Point. Lovely book and a super idea.

    Ghosts/spirits/those who walk the edge between here and “there” are fascinating stories.

    I have my own take on things paranormal and love to explore.

    And the Ghost and Mrs. Muir is a wonderful movie. Too bad TCM hasn’t played it recently.

    I’ve been doing my best to go through my TBR pile, but people keep releasing fab new books and now that I choose between reading on my iPad or in paperback…it’s getting tougher to keep up.

    Great post as always,

    1. Laura Tobias
      Laura Tobias at | | Reply

      But Bonnie I’m not the only one here with a ghost story! You and Gail have both produced stories with ghosts; Vanessa has a ghost in our upcoming short story anthology; and EC is working on a story with a ghost too.

      So we’ve all taken a trip down this road!

  4. Vanessa Grant
    Vanessa Grant at | | Reply

    Laura, what a treat! You’ve given me a reminder of some of my favourite ghost stories – the Ghost and Mrs. Muir and Kat Richardson’t Graywalker series!

    I’ll add a couple of my favourites:

    Linda Howard’s “Now You See Her” is one of my favourite romances. It’s an oldie but goodie! The heroine is an artist who believes her life and her painting was ruined when she started seeing ghosts. But it’s not only her painting has taken on a new life that she’s powerless to stop. Her love life is about to become very exciting. Great heroine, superb hero – Whew!!! It’s not a new book, but one of my favourite romances to read again every couple of years.

    And yes, there are some very interesting paranormal stories coming up in our anthology – yours and Bonnie’s among them 🙂


  5. Gail Whitiker
    Gail Whitiker at | | Reply

    Great post, Laura. Definitely the time of year to catch up on the scary movies, but I definitely do better reading scary than watching it!

    Loved The Ghost and Mrs. Muir–truly one of the best paranormal romances of the time, and I’m with Vanessa on ‘Now you See Her’. Fabulous read! Then there were Bonnie’s delightful “Midnight Confessions!”

    And, as Pen Warriors go, there are a couple of paranormal stories in the works (nudge nudge EC & Laura) that I am dying to read. As well, of course, as the upcoming antho.

    The iPad is coming and I’m getting a little nervous of the volume that’s going to be in that nifty little machine. Truly, so many books, so little time…


  6. Vanessa Grant
    Vanessa Grant at | | Reply

    Midnight Confessions by Bonnie Edwards is a great read! I can’t believe I forgot to mention it.

    I loved the way Bonnie wove these stories together, and the delightful playfulness of some of the characters!


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