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20th Century Ghosts by Joe Hill

a son takes over

The first published book by author Joe Hill and it came out in 2005. I was introduced to Joe Hill with his second book “Heart-Shaped Box” and immediately fell in love with his style, so when I picked up “20th Century Ghosts” I was more than excited to read within.

The book is a compilation of 10 short ghost stories, each carrying its own power to keep you glued to the stories. Not just scary stories, but some that will pull at your heart as well as rip it out of your chest and feed it to you.

Best New Horror: meet Eddie Carrol, editor of an anthology “America’s Best New Horror”. His job becomes mundane until he comes across a submission called “Buttonboy” by reclusive author Peter Kilrue. He searches and finds Kilrue and realizes that maybe “Buttonboy” isn’t fiction afterall.

20th Century Ghost: the Rosebud Theatre has a supernatural patron who speaks to cinema goers. Alec Sheldon the owner of the theatre relives the history of the theatre and the death of his resident ghost.

Pop Art: Life is hard enough on a boy growing up, even harder when you’re inflatable.

You Will Hear the Locust Sing: a young man wakes up to find he has mutated into a giant locust.

Abraham’s Boys: Can you imagine what it’s like to grow up as the son of the most infamous vampire hunter?

Better Than Home: The heart wrenching story of a troubled boy whose even more troubled father manages a baseball team.

The Black Phone: A 13 year old boy is kidnapped by deviant Al, he’s trapped in a specially made “cell” waiting to for a gruesome outcome. His only hope of escape is a black phone that receives calls from Al’s former victims.

In the Run Down: A video store clerk whose temperament and character leaves a lot to be desired comes upon a grisly scene on a dirt lane.

The Cape: Eric learns he can fly with his blue cape but injures himself when trying to save his brother when he was 7. Now that he is an adult who has squandered his whole life, he finds the cape again…but will he be a superhero or a villain?

Last Breath: Welcome to Dr. Allinger’s Museum of Silence, where contained in several canisters are the last breaths of some famous and not so famous people. Maybe yours will be the next exhibit?

Joe Hill purposely left out the fact that he was the son of famous horror magus Stephen King in order to establish himself as a writer. Wise choice, in my book, the influence is there but he has a flavor all his own.