Haunted by Heather Beck
Publisher: Treasure Cove Books
Genre: Paranormal, Mystery/Suspense, Contemporary
Age Recommendation: 10+
Length: Short Story (125 pages)
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe
When darkness falls and the air turns cold, ghosts come out to play. Heather Beck presents Haunted, an anthology of ghostly encounters and paranormal events. *Haunted contains The Horror Diaries Volumes 1-5.
After discovering a mysterious playground in the woods, Chase is stalked by angry ghost children.
A Haunting Past
Truce’s class trip to an old native reserve turns deadly when Bear, an infamous chief who died two hundred years ago, blames him for the tribe’s extinction.
The Manor On The Rocks
Grey, damp and surrounded by jagged rocks, Calla Lily’s new home isn’t only unpleasant, it’s also haunted by the world’s most evil boy.
A Medieval Nightmare
When Ellie and Brandon get trapped in a medieval museum that’s a bit too real, they fall under a spell and become pivotal players in a ghostly regime.
A Watery Grave
A camping trip becomes a heart-pounding race for survival when Justine meets a ghost who’s determined to change her fate by trading bodies with a living entity.
Are you afraid of the dark? This book will give you five great reasons to pull the covers over your head if you’re not doing so already.
“A Haunting Past” starts out a little slow but it quickly builds up steam. The twist at the end wasn’t something I had anticipated and more than makes up for the rocky beginning. I was also surprised to see Truce getting help in his battle against Bear from an unexpected source. The relationship between Bear and this source was something I figured out early on in the story but it did provide a solid explanation for Bear’s motives.
The ghost in “The Manor on the Rock” is far more menacing than the ones in the rest of this collection. As the plot thickened I read it with a pounding heart honestly not knowing what would happen next. This was the only story in the collection that is not appropriate for younger or sensitive audiences. It was by far the best one in the collection, though, and is something I highly recommend for adult and young adult readers alike.
“A Medieval Nightmare” blends humor and horror effortlessly. It’s a solid, well-told tale that answered just enough questions to resolve most plot points without bogging the reader down with unnecessary details. I really liked the quick thinking of Ellie and Brandon as well as the fact that neither one could be said to be the exclusive hero of the story.
What would you do if a ghost wanted to trade bodies with you? A Watery Grave explores this question thoroughly. I figured out how it would end early on but still found the final paragraph to be deliciously chilling. This story could easily be expanded into a full length novel or followed up by a sequel. I don’t know if Ms. Beck is planning to follow up with Justine and the other characters in the future but I’d be thrilled to hear from them again.
Unfortunately “Ghost Park” was bogged down with a slow beginning and uneven pacing. While the ghosts were truly frightening I would have liked to see a more thorough explanation of their back-stories. The bits and pieces we were given were intriguing but they never quite snapped together to explain how the children died or why they were trapped in this plane. This was the weakest story in the collection and the only one I didn’t particularly enjoy despite rooting for the plucky main character, Chase. This is actually the first story in the anthology but I chose to review it last so my review, though pointed, wouldn't prevent anyone from choosing to read this clever group of short stories.
While all of the protagonists are teenagers in this collection the writing will be more appealing to students in late elementary or early middle school. The Manor on the Rock is fairly intense and more appropriate for older readers who aren’t easily spooked but the rest of these stories could be enjoyed by kids as young as eight.
I recommend Haunted for anyone who is in the mood for something frightening. These creepy stories will stick with you long after you’ve put down the book.