Tales of The Macabre and The Supernatural: A Review

Summer can be a little too invasive. The hot weather drives people out into their gardens in droves. Their stereos go up. Their barbecue gossip gets louder and the resultant buzz bleeds in through any window you’ve dared to open in order to keep cool.

At times like this, particularly if you’re a fan of the classic ghost story, you’ll catch yourself longing for winter. You’ll pine for long, dark nights. Cold, murky evenings. The heating turned up to full to hold back the chill, as you settle down and wrap up warm; a good book and a drink in easy reach.

Thankfully, I’m pleased to announce there’s a new antidote this year. A way to evade the sweaty grasp of Summer and channel a little inner winter in through your window. K.B. Goddard has released a new collection of ghost stories for our consumption.

It’s been a while since we were been treated to a new K.B. Goddard publication. Her last novella, the chillingly atmospheric ‘The Girl with the Roses’ came out back in 2017. Thankfully, it’s not been a complete drought for fans of her work. Since 2017, she’s gone onto become an award winning horror writer with stories popping up to terrify you on both The Wicked Library and The Lift podcasts. As well as having a story featured in The Lift’s first anthology. Now, though, she’s managed to find the time to gather some more tales to haunt the e reader of your choice.

I will always envy someone who’s about to discover K.B. Goddard’s work. It’s quiet, subtle. It sneaks up behind you and doesn’t so much surprise you as stay one step ahead, as you begin to fathom the fate of a character. Some of whom deserve their ending and some of whom have stumbled into the reach of an older, darker purpose they should’ve tried to avoid.

There’s a real consistency to Goddard’s work. Once you’ve read one story, whether in an anthology such as Shadows at the Door or in one of her own releases (or heard one on a podcast), you’ll soon want to discover more. They never disappoint. She has a real skill for capturing the mood of the classic ghost story.

Yet, whilst these stories are set in the past, there isn’t anything dusty or antique about them. She masterfully crafts her stories so vividly that you feel like each one is a lost gem. A buried treasure that you’ve been lucky enough to unearth and hold up to the moonlight. They’re captured snapshots of the golden era of the ghost story. Ready to prove they can still send a stampede of shivers racing down your spin.

Reading her new collection carried me far away from I was sitting. I was soon transported to an England of candlelit nights, cold winter woods and unusual little shops that seem to gather themselves out of the autumnal fog. Where the lights slips from the narrow windows of manor houses and the locals in the inn keep their secrets to themselves as you step out into the shadows of their homes.

The five spine-tingling stories in this collection capture your attention from the very start. Like last time, I don’t want to go too in depth on the plot of each tale. Ideally, you want to pick up your copy knowing as little as possible about the five journeys that await you. All I’ll say is K.B. Goddard’s created five wonderfully unnerving and smart stories. Stories that toy with your expectations and your knowledge of the genre. Stories that weave twisted paths, stopping to introduce you to some unforgettable characters and troubling location, before reaching with their insidious conclusions.

Without giving away too much, I will say I’m going to pay very close attention to any stipulations that are cited the next time I move to a new house. I will not trust jewellery offered as a gift and I, for one, hope to visit the intriguing lives of Mr and Mrs Hunter again soon.

There has been a definite resurgence in the ghost story over the past few years. The quiet horror that lingers in the realm of folk horror. Where the past waits outside your window, always ready to show what’s truly buried beneath your floorboards. If you prefer your scares delivered in this form, you will find plenty to love in the work of K.B. Goddard.

My only piece of advice is to try to resist moving straight onto the next story as soon as you’ve finished the one you’re reading. You’ll only be able to experience each of these nightmares, fresh, for the first time once. Although trust me when I say it’s just incredibly tricky not to follow the author over the page, just so you can see what she’s got in store for your nerves next.