REVIEW: The Garden of Ghosts | Scott Thomas | Dark Regions Press

Title: The Garden of Ghosts
Author: Scott Thomas
Dark Regions Press, 2008
Format: Trade Paperback
ISBN: 978-1-888993-62-2
Length: 148 pages
Genre: Ghost Stories/Horror

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Reviewer: Clayton Clifford Bye

The Garden of Ghosts: a collection of Victorian ghost stories linked together by the common factor of vegetation. Does it work? Absolutely. The tone of this marvelous book is earthy, visceral and surprisingly committed to its theme.

From the uncomfortable humour of The Ghost who Nibbled Fennel to the wonderful A Night on Little Orchard, Scott Thomas skillfully takes us back to a simpler time, when people had no trouble envisioning terrible things that go bump in the night. And he writes as if he is talking to an old friend, toning down the rigid, stilted and (may I say) boring style of most traditional writers of the supernatural.

I’ll tell you a secret: I’m not a fan of ghost stories. I groan when someone sends me such a book to read and review. Nor will you find many ghost stories in my own library. They don’t scare me, most are as dry as dust and none offer up the vibrant entertainment we all look for in stories. Yet, here comes Scott Thomas with a beautiful book of stories that just happen to be of the ghostly variety. Bad things happen to good and bad people alike. Not all ghosts are interested in haunting, nor are they mere spectres; this author reveals ghosts with a need for real shoes, who have sharp teeth and fire rifles with real bullets. Then there’s a truly unique telling of Jack the Ripper’s tale, which is all about the supernatural, but it didn’t feel like a ghost story, and it was a terrific piece of entertainment.

I read the final story in The Garden of Ghosts and closed the book with a wonderful sense of fullness and satisfaction, of having been given something both substantial and pleasing to the soul. This is a collection of short stories I will return to again and again.

Thank you Mr. Thomas.

Copyright © Clayton Clifford Bye

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