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Ghost Story (1979)

by Peter Straub

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3,8171133,227 (3.79)223
Fiction. Horror. Suspense. Thriller. HTML:#1 New York Times bestselling author Peter Straubâ??s classic tale of horror, secrets, and the dangerous ghosts of the past...
 
What was the worst thing youâ??ve ever done?
 
In the sleepy town of Milburn, New York, four old men gather to tell each other storiesâ??some true, some made-up, all of them frightening. A simple pastime to divert themselves from their quiet lives.
 
But one story is coming back to haunt them and their small town. A tale of something they did long ago. A wicked mistake. A horrifying accident. And they are about to learn that no one can bury the past f
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English (109)  Spanish (1)  Danish (1)  French (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (113)
Showing 1-5 of 109 (next | show all)
one creepy ghost story! Took awhile to get it read but it was worth the time. ( )
  TrishLittle | Mar 14, 2024 |
A wonderful twist in the macabre. Horrifyingly subtle and a worship of the darkness and sorrow. ( )
  breathstealer | Sep 19, 2023 |
I liked the movie better. The book suffered from the Stephen King syndrome of introducing a horde of extraneous characters along with an illustration of a small towns sins and secret underbelly. The twist where the antagonist/she-monster is actually something else besides what you think was a huge disappointment. It just felt bloated for what the story actually was. I can't really recommend it. ( )
  Ranjr | Jul 13, 2023 |
I want to love this book, but it wasn’t for me. I fully admire the author’s reputation, and this story is imaginative. But I also found this to have too much exposition, meaning the novel flew by in parts and dragged in others. No creep factor and definitely not scary, so if that’s what you’re looking for, this isn’t it. Neither is it a ghost story. I’d suggest reading a sample and other reviews before deciding to spend time with this one. ( )
  SharonMariaBidwell | Dec 17, 2022 |
Freddy Robinson, the insurance agent, and the next victim of the Nightcrawler:
"Lewis was looking at the ground, not bothering to reply to these horrible remarks, and Freddy Robinson rushed into the silence to add, 'hey, you look kind of crapped out. You don't want to stand here in the cold. Why don't you come over to my place, have a good stiff drink? I'd like to hear about your experiences, chew the fat a little bit, check out your insurance situation, just for the record -- there's nobody at home here anyhow --' like Jim Hardie, he grabbed Lewis's arm, and Lewis, harassed and miserable as he was, sensed desperation and hunger in the man. If Robinson could have handcuffed Lewis and dragged him across the street, he would have. Lewis knew that Robinson, for whatever private reasons, would fasten on him like a barnacle if he allowed him to.
'I'm afraid I can't,' he said, more polite than if he had not felt the enormity of Robinson's need. 'I have to see some people.'
'you mean Sears James and Ricky Hawthorne, I guess,' Robinson said, defeated already. He released Lewis's arm. 'Gosh, what you guys do is so great, I mean I really admire you, with that club you have, and everything.'
'Christ, don't admire us,' Lewis said, already moving toward his car. 'someone's picking us off like flies.' "

Jim Hardie and Peter barnes, two high school boys, break into the new nightcrawler's house:
"The golden-eyed man was nearly to them, reaching out his left hand. Peter stepped backward, too frightened for coherent thought.
The man's White hand glided nearer and nearer Jim's own left hand.
Peter turned his back and pounded halfway up the next flight of stairs. When he looked around the light beneath the door in the landing was spilling out with such intensity that the walls were painted faintly green: green too was Jim, in that light.
'just take my hand,' the man said. He was two steps below Jim, and their hands nearly touched.
Jim brushed his fingers against the palm of the man's hand.
Peter looked up the stairs, but could not leave Jim.
The man beneath was chuckling. Peter's heart froze, and he looked down again. The man was grasping Jim's wrist with his left hand. The wolfish eyes glowed wide.
Jim screeched.
The man holding him moved his hands to Jim's throat and twisted his body with immense Force, slamming the boy's head against the wall. He planted his feet on the boards of the landing and again smashed Jim's head into the wall.
Your turn.
Jim fell onto the boards and the man kicked him aside as if he were as weightless as a paper bag. A bright smear of blood like a child's finger painting lay on the wall."

Sears and Ricky finally tell the story that we have been waiting through two-thirds of the book to hear: what happened with Eva galli, supposedly the nightcrawler's aunt.
" '... What idiots we were. Anyhow, she turned up one night at Edwards apartment.
'and she was wild,' Sears said. 'She was frightening. She came in like a typhoon.'
'she said she was lonely,' Ricky said. 'Said she was sick of this damn town and all the hypocrites in it. She wanted to drink and she wanted to dance, and she didn't care who was shocked. Said this dead little town and all it's dead little people could go to hell as far as she was concerned. And if we were men and not little boys, we'd damn the town too.'
'we were speechless' Sears said. 'There was our unattainable goddess, cursing like a sailor and raging... Acting like a whore. "madder music and stronger wine." That's what we got, all right. Edward had a little Gramophone and some records, and she made us crank it up and put on the loudest jazz he had. She was so vehement! It was crazy -- we'd never seen any woman act that way, and for us she was, you know, sort of a cross between the Statue of Liberty and Mary pickford.'
'dance with me, you little toad,' she said to john, and he was so frightened by her that he scarcely dared touch her. Her eyes were just blazing.'
'I think what she felt was hate,' Ricky said, 'for us, for the town, for stringer. But it was hatred, and it was boiling. A cyclone of hate. She kissed Lewis while they were dancing, and he jumped back like she burned him. He dropped his arms, and she spun off to Edward and grabbed him and made him dance. Her face was terrible -- rigid. Edward was always more worldly than the rest of us, but he too was shaken by Eva's wildness -- our Paradise was crumbling all around us, and she kicked it into powder with every step. With every glance. She did seem like a devil; like something possessed. You know how when a woman gets angry, really angry, she can reach way back into herself and find rage enough to blow any man to pieces -- how all that feeling comes out and hits you like a truck? It was like that. "Aren't you little sissies going to drink?" So we drank.'
'It was unspeakable,' Sears said. 'She seemed twice our size. I think I knew what was coming. There was only one thing that could be coming. We were simply too immature to know how to handle it.'
'I don't know if I saw it coming, but it came anyhow,' Ricky said. 'She tried to seduce lewis.'
'he was the worst possible choice,' Sears said. 'Lewis was only a boy. He may have kissed a gal before that night, but he certainly had done no more than that. We all loved eva, but Lewis probably loved her most -- he was the one who found that Dowson poem, remember. And because he loved her most, her performance that evening and her hatred stunned him.' "
It gets worse; she takes her clothes off and she's ready to do all of them, when one of them rushes her and pushes her back. She knocks her head against the fireplace, and dies. Now they have to get rid of her. So, the nightcrawler has come back to seek her revenge.

I could not get into this book; I kept getting distracted. It just wasn't that scary, I guess. reality is scarier. ( )
1 vote burritapal | Oct 23, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 109 (next | show all)
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Epigraph
The chasm was merely one of the orifices of that pit of blackness that lies beneath us, everywhere. -- The Marble Faun, Nathaniel Hawthorne
Ghosts are always hungry. -- R.D. Jameson
Dedication
For Valli Shaio and Gregorio Kohon
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What was the worst thing you've ever done?
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Fiction. Horror. Suspense. Thriller. HTML:#1 New York Times bestselling author Peter Straubâ??s classic tale of horror, secrets, and the dangerous ghosts of the past...
 
What was the worst thing youâ??ve ever done?
 
In the sleepy town of Milburn, New York, four old men gather to tell each other storiesâ??some true, some made-up, all of them frightening. A simple pastime to divert themselves from their quiet lives.
 
But one story is coming back to haunt them and their small town. A tale of something they did long ago. A wicked mistake. A horrifying accident. And they are about to learn that no one can bury the past f

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