Review: The Big Book of Ghost Stories, edited by Otto Penzler

Review: The Big Book of Ghost Stories, edited by Otto Penzler October 10, 2012

The Big Book of Ghost StoriesThe Big Book of Ghost Stories by Otto Penzler

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a treat for myself after getting a free lance writing job. I have been dipping in and out of these short stories and enjoying them a lot. There are classics (The Monkey’s Paw; Oh, Whistle and I’ll Come to You My Lad) and stories from much more modern authors like Donald Westlake, Isaac Asimov, Chet Williamson, and Andrew Klavan. There are so many stories in this “big book” that it will take me some time to finish, especially at the meandering, leisurely pace I favor for short story collections. So much the better, I say!

My only quarrel is with the categories in the table of contents that tend to give away the surprise for too many of the stories simply by playing on the twist. I enjoy just opening the book and reading the story I find there so that I keep the element of surprise as long as the author’s skill allows.

Kudos to the publisher, Black Lizard, for their production values … the cover is not only atmospheric because of the vintage image, it is also sturdy. The paper for the pages is lower quality, as one would expect, but the binding is such that you can tell it will hold together no matter how many times that book flops open. The binding also allows the book to lie flat on a surface which is a definite advantage considering the size. And the print is a pleasing size, not the gigantic type which too many modern publishers use to either pad out pages or pander to older eyes.

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