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Joe Hill’s award-winning story collection, featuring “The Black Phone,” soon to be a major motion picture from Universal Pictures and Blumhouse Productions
Imogene is young, beautiful . . . and dead, waiting in the Rosebud Theater one afternoon in 1945. . . .
Francis was human once, but now he's an eight-foot-tall locust, and everyone in Calliphora will tremble when they hear him sing. . . .
John is locked in a basement stained with the blood of half a dozen murdered children, and an antique telephone, long since disconnected, rings at night with calls from the dead. . . .
Nolan knows but can never tell what really happened in the summer of '77, when his idiot savant younger brother built a vast cardboard fort with secret doors leading into other worlds. . . .
The past isn't dead. It isn't even past. . . .
The first collection from #1 New York Times bestselling author Joe Hill, 20th Century Ghosts is an inventive and chilling compendium that established this award-winning, critically acclaimed author as “a major player in 21st-century fantastic fiction” (Washington Post).
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Joe Hill’s eerie, disquieting short stories feature vampires, a deranged kidnapper, an unsavory writer, and even ghost trees. Hill asks us to contemplate what’s mysterious and terrifying in the everyday world, spinning tales about two brothers who make a disturbing discovery about their father or a very spooky phone that becomes a boy’s key to survival. We love that while all of Hill’s tales are unsettling, they each have their own distinctive mood: Some are funny, others are nostalgic, and a few are downright harrowing. 20th Century Ghosts is full of nightmarish brushes with the surreal that will haunt you long after you’ve put the book down for the night.
Fully developed characters with complex emotional lives enhance the 14 horror stories in Hill's extraordinary debut collection. In "Abraham's Boys," Count Dracula's nemesis, Dr. Van Helsing, tries to teach his young sons his dispassionate methods of vampire slaying, but succeeds only in demonstrating his soullessness. "Voluntary Committal" tells of an idiot savant who applies his uncanny architectural skills to helping his adored older brother find a suggestively sinister way to remove problems from his life. Whether detailing relationships between children and parents or between teenage peers, Hill is flawless in his ability to articulate frailties that humanize his characters and make them vulnerable to intrusions of the strange. This is particularly noticeable in the title story, about a haunted cinema whose young female ghost seduces patrons with unfulfilled lives, and the surreal "My Father's Mask," which disturbs with subtle hints of taboo sexuality. There's not a false note or disappointing effort in this book, which introduces one of the most confident and assured new voices in horror and dark fantasy to emerge in recent years.