Review: Ghostwritten - Ronald Malfi
Genre: Horror, Short Stories
Published: Titan Books, October 11th 2022
My Rating: 4/5 stars
“Once upon a time, Bartholomew Olo Higgins Timothy the Third dreamed about a book that was really a house, and a house that was really a book. There were many rooms inside the house, and the book, and in each one a new friend awaited Olo. How joyous it was to visit them and play with them whenever he wanted…”
This Halloween-season is going down as the Season of Malfi, as I’ve discovered a new favourite horror-author. With my experiences with Come With Me and Black Mouth still fresh in my mind, I was beyond excited to be approved for the ARC of his latest release, and it did not disappoint. Ghostwritten is a collection of 4 novella’s connected by the central motif of haunted books, all of them outstanding pieces of short horror on their own, but subtly interlinked into a cohesive whole.
In The Skin of Her Teeth, an editor tracks down the author of the titular horror-story who owes her the manuscript of the upcoming film-adaptation, but has gone missing shortly before the deadline. Expecting to find him in a drunken stupor, she isn’t prepared to find his dead body instead. Seeking answers ánd her payday from this manuscript, she finds a cursed document with a deadly will of its own; a will that defies adaptation… (4/5 stars)
In The Dark Brothers’ Last Ride, two brothers take on a delivery-job trafficking a strange book across country. As more and more unsettling events occur along the way, the brothers begin to suspect that what looked like a book, might be something much more dangerous and supernatural instead. (3.5/5 stars)
In This Book Belongs to Olo, a lonely and slightly disturbed child recreates his life inside an usual pop-up book, with devastating consequences for the “characters” within it. (4.5/5 stars)
Finally, in The Story, a woman’s unexpected suicide leads her brother down the path of an Alternate Reality Game of sorts, that she became obsessed with in her final days. A choose-your-own-adventure story that shared through the internet, that seemingly blurs the lines between fiction and reality. (4/5 stars)
It's rare for me to like all novella’s/stories within a collection, but as you can tell by my ratings, Malfi has done it. With sharp prose, tight pacing and dreadful imagination; Ghostwritten makes for a fantastic collection to accompany you during the upcoming dark October nights.
Many thanks to Titan Books and Tantor Audio for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
You can find this book here on Goodreads.