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Spirit by Graham Masterton
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Spirit (original 1995; edition 2001)

by Graham Masterton

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1144105,887 (3.45)3
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Title:Spirit
Authors:Graham Masterton
Info:Leisure Books (2001), Mass Market Paperback, 422 pages
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Spirit by Graham Masterton (1995)

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English (3)  French (1)  All languages (4)
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This book was quite good. I'm pleased that Amazon is now selling several of Masterton's horror novels in Kindle format, but cripes is the OCR terrible. So many wrong words. cl replaced with a d. Italicized words all mangled. It was very distracting. ( )
  pidgeon92 | Apr 1, 2013 |
Spirit is not Graham Masterton's newest book, by any means, but it was my first experience with his work. I promise it won't be my last. A family is haunted when the youngest of 3 Sisters drowns in the family pool. A totally original twist on the ghost story. Tying the fairy-tale of "The Snow Queen" into a truly frightening and imaginative work. Little Peggy only wants to protect her big Sisters, even when they no longer want that protection or when it threatens to take away what one Sister loves the most. Available in paperback from Amazon.com. http://www.amazon.com/Spirit-Graham-Masterton/dp/084394935X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&a... ( )
  FrankErrington | Nov 6, 2011 |
Beautifully Written and Engaging

After reading just two of his novels, I am becoming immensely impressed with Graham Masterton. It is a darn shame most of the horror novels written by this guy are out of print. Masterton's prose, his insightful characters, and his quirky plots are wonderful contributions to the horror genre. This book, "Spirit," is closely related to the other Masterton book I read recently, "The House that Jack Built." Both of these stories deal with your typical haunted house/ghost story, but the author does not rely on the standard explanations about spirits and hauntings. In "The House that Jack Built," Masterton argued that it is psychic vibrations and the nature of time and history that account for strange sightings of dead people. In "Spirit," he creates an intensely sad story around the idea that the human imagination accounts for the presence of those who have moved on beyond the world of the living.

"Spirit" is the epic story of the Buchanan family beginning in 1940's Connecticut. The real focus of the story is on Elizabeth and Laura Buchanan and their little sister Peggy. When we meet the family the three sisters are very young, spending their days lost in worlds of childish imagination. The sisters' favorite story is Hans Christian Andersen's "The Snow Queen," and the three occasionally act out parts of the tale for their own amusement, especially young Peggy. But then tragedy strikes when Peggy accidentally falls through ice and drowns in the family swimming pool. Her death causes the Buchanan family to slowly disintegrate, leading to premature aging for the father and a nervous breakdown with intermittent stays in a mental facility for the mother. Elizabeth and Laura grow up and try to do the best they can with their lives, but the death of Peggy casts a permanent shadow over everyone's life. For most people who lose a member of the family, life does go on after such a sad incident, but not for the Buchanans.

The problem comes when Elizabeth and Laura realize that Peggy hasn't gone gently into the good night. She returns as a spirit, a pale white shade dedicated to protecting her sisters from even the slightest dangers in life. When Laura has an improper relationship with the local preacher, Peggy is there to help clean up the mess in a particularly gruesome way. For over a decade, Peggy always shows up to deliver death, usually by using extreme cold as a weapon, to those who pose a threat to her sisters. It gets to the point where the two sisters feel they cannot even have a disagreement with another person without putting someone in harm's way. Then Elizabeth and Laura discover why Peggy acts in such an egregious manner. Peggy's actions in life, namely her imagination, have led to her return after death. After Elizabeth lives through an encounter with a terrifying creature invoked by Peggy, she knows she has to do something to get rid of her dead sister's influence.

"Spirit" is a deeply atmospheric story loaded with pop culture references, great character development, and a great idea about why ghosts exist. There are also extremely touchy examinations of taboo subjects and great gore sequences (imagine the consequences of a body exposed to temperatures of 200 degrees below zero). The conclusion to the story, while seemingly rushed to some extent and not all that interesting, is not a happy, "we beat the monster!" ending. The sense of profound loss Elizabeth experiences in the end is only the final loss among many throughout the story. That may be the real theme of the story: loss and how we as living beings deal with it (or don't deal with it, as the case may be).

A word to the wary: this book deals with very adult themes described in graphic detail. There is pederasty and a brutal rape scene that is sure to upset even the most jaded readers. Fortunately, these sickening scenes are not inserted into the story for mere sensationalism, but actually do add dimension to the Laura Buchanan character. At the same time, it also highlights a potential problem with the story. Elizabeth and Laura both pontificate on how they wish Peggy would leave them alone and let them take risks and decide how to live their own lives. With the descriptions of Laura's misfortunes, it is obvious that this girl does not know how to live her life. In fact, without the ultimate intervention of Peggy, Laura probably would have been in a world of hurt far beyond learning lessons about life. Despite this and a few other problems with "Spirit," this Masterton book is highly readable and absolutely worth the day or two it takes to get through it.
  Pretensor | Jul 5, 2008 |
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"Spirit" is the epic story of the Buchanan family beginning in 1940's Connecticut. The real focus of the story is on Elizabeth and Laura Buchanan and their little sister Peggy. When we meet the family the three sisters are very young, spending their days lost in worlds of childish imagination. The sisters' favorite story is Hans Christian Andersen's "The Snow Queen," and the three occasionally act out parts of the tale for their own amusement, especially young Peggy. But then tragedy strikes when Peggy accidentally falls through ice and drowns in the family swimming pool. Her death causes the Buchanan family to slowly disintegrate, leading to premature aging for the father and a nervous breakdown with intermittent stays in a mental facility for the mother. Elizabeth and Laura grow up and try to do the best they can with their lives, but the death of Peggy casts a permanent shadow over everyone's life. For most people who lose a member of the family, life does go on after such a sad incident, but not for the Buchanans.

The problem comes when Elizabeth and Laura realize that Peggy hasn't gone gently into the good night. She returns as a spirit, a pale white shade dedicated to protecting her sisters from even the slightest dangers in life. When Laura has an improper relationship with the local preacher, Peggy is there to help clean up the mess in a particularly gruesome way. For over a decade, Peggy always shows up to deliver death, usually by using extreme cold as a weapon, to those who pose a threat to her sisters. It gets to the point where the two sisters feel they cannot even have a disagreement with another person without putting someone in harm's way. Then Elizabeth and Laura discover why Peggy acts in such an egregious manner. Peggy's actions in life, namely her imagination, have led to her return after death. After Elizabeth lives through an encounter with a terrifying creature invoked by Peggy, she knows she has to do something to get rid of her dead sister's influence.
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The ghost of a little girl haunts her family, destroying them one by one.

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