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?