I’m really pleased to be able to review this book and not just because I know the author (shameless boast!), but because I suspect most people who read this blog won’t previously have come across it, and I love to bring you new books and authors. Five Deaths and Two Ghosts is a collection of stories by Sarah-Louise Knight. This is Sarah’s first published collection of short stories, and I’m sure it won’t be her last.
Each story is satisfyingly different, whilst they all take an unexpected turn, which is exactly what you would hope for from a short story . There are deaths aplenty and lots to keep you guessing until the end. The collection opens with the aptly named ‘Trust’. In ‘Trust’, Lydia has been fooling around with a ouji board. She manages to conjures up a spirit which enters her house and cleverly persuades her he is a friend. When Lydia’s trust is betrayed events take a wholly unexpected turn.
In ‘The Eavesdropper’ the innocent games of two boys lead to a tragedy that neither would have predicted. The twist at the end of this story made me shiver! The title choice for this story is brilliant but if I told you why I would be giving too much away.
My favourite story in the collection is ‘One Green Eye, One Blue’. This is a clever story about the memory loss a woman experiences after husband’s murder. When trying to piece together the events of the day he died, she is forced to face some uncomfortable truths. I loved the pace of this story and felt it matched the events of the story perfectly
In ‘Meg’s Legacy’, Meg’s brother is forced back to the house where she died as a child on a summer holiday. As he relives the events of that terrible summer he is confronted by some ghostly visitations that cause him to question what really happened on the day she died.
The final story in the collection is the cheerfully named ‘Bread and Jam’. Peter is forced to temporarily live with his mother before she dies. During this time he makes some discoveries that will change the way he remembers her. This story is a little less eerie than some of the others, but reminds us that perhaps we never really know anyone completely.
Sarah’s love of the writing comes across throughout this book and she certainly has the gift of weaving a story, building tension and delivering surprises. Ghost stories are not my usual genre of choice but I loved these as they had just the right amount of fear and uncertainty for a cowardy custard like me, and didn’t scare me so much that I couldn’t read them before going to sleep at night! I shall be leaving this book on the bed side table in my spare room for any unsuspecting ghost loving guests!
Short stories are a great way of either getting back into reading after a reading slump or encouraging new readers. Stories where lots happens but in a succinct and carefully worded way are perfect for supposed ‘non readers’. This collection meets all of that criteria. At the moment ‘Five Deaths and Two Ghosts’ along with Sarah’s novel ‘Control’ are only available on Amazon. I am hopeful that in the future we will be able to see these and more of Sarah’s work at a book shop near you!
Stay tuned for a forthcoming post featuring an interview with Sarah Louise Knight. Sarah kindly agreed to talk to me about how ‘Five Deaths and Two Ghosts’ came into being whilst giving a little insight into her own writing life.
Image, Changing pages