Currently Reading: Ghost Story
We open with a man and a young girl traveling in a car. The girl has been kidnapped, but seems eerily calm about it. The man acts frenetically, panicked. At night, he sits by the girl holding a knife, unsure if he can do what must be done.
The Chowder Society is made up of four old friends in the town of Milburn, New York. They meet weekly, jackets mandatory, and tell stories. Recently though, their stories have turned darker. One of their own has recently died under mysterious circumstances, which leads all of them to think about their own mortality, as well as the ghosts that haunt each of them.
When strange occurrences begin to happen and bodies start to pile up, the Society knows that they need to unravel whatever twisted darkness has been stalking them. They reach out to their deceased friend's nephew for help, knowing that he is both a writer and connected to all of them through his own ghost story.
As they continue meeting and sharing their stories, common threads appear. Namely, all the stories share either a young, beautiful woman or the appearance of the undead. Eventually, they discover that these creatures have come to Milburn and don't plan on leaving until the entire town is destroyed.
Reading this book, I was terrified. It's been a long time since I had trouble falling asleep after reading a book, but this one gave me serious trouble. The evil that haunts the town and these men is old, smart, and unrelenting. Straub uses incredible imagery and description to build up such tension that I felt myself physically tighten up at certain parts of the book.
This is how to write horror.
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