Ghost Story by Peter Straub
Published by Pocket Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster
From the publisher:
For four aging men in the terror-stricken town of Milburn, New York, an act inadvertently carried out in their youth has come back to haunt them. Now they are about to learn what happens to those who believe they can bury the past — and get away with murder.
Peter Straub’s classic bestseller is a work of “superb horror” (The Washington Post Book World) that, like any good ghost story, stands the test of time — and conjures our darkest fears and nightmares.
I would never have read this book if not for one of my book clubs. It is supposed to be one of the most horrifying books of all time, and perhaps I just don’t “get” horror, but I didn’t find it all that terrifying. There are some scary parts, sure, and the premise is certainly creepy, and yes a lot of people die, but overall I found it more of a chore to get through than anything.
The biggest issue I had with the book is that it is incredibly long (my copy had over 500 pages) and it felt to me that it took forever to get to any kind of interesting plot. Once it got going, I was definitely interested to find out what was going on, but even at that point it still felt incredibly slow.
When we finally figure out what’s going on, I will admit that it was pretty creepy, and there were definitely a few scenes that turned my stomach. And wow, Straub has no fear of killing off characters – every time I turned the page at one point, someone else was dead. Crazy. So yes, there were some exciting parts for sure. But because it took so long to get to those parts, I was frustrated by that point.
We had an interesting book club meeting for this one. Only one person – the girl who chose this book – finished it, and I came in a close second with fifty pages to go by the time we met (I finished it after). Most people couldn’t get past the first 100 pages. I do think by the end, if you like this genre, it is a rewarding read. But it was incredibly difficult and slow-going to get there.
Maybe horror just isn’t for me. If this is the best the genre has to offer, I’m definitely not sold.