Monday, June 13, 2016

A tale of ghosts and madness

Ghost Chant

By Gina Ranalli

Publisher: Grindhouse Press

Pub. Date: December 2, 2014

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Ghost Chant is a glance into a nightmare. I am not quite sure whether it is a ghost story or a study of madness. It is probably a little of both. And that is the way I like my novellas, laced with a generous dose of dread and uncertainty. What we do know is that the protagonist Cherie Drew is troubled. That hint of a troubled mind comes in the shape of annoyance with her neighbor's daughter. Maggie is often where she shouldn't be; in Cherie's flower bed, her driveway, and even in her house. She is a quiet child, described as having a vacant stare and possibly autistic. The bulk of the novella takes place in one night when Cherie acts on her anger toward Maggie and it soon escalates in a form of terror that feeds on her past and her fears.

Being as short as it is, under 100 pages, it is necessary to leap quickly into the nightmare. There is little back story at the beginning,. But we do find out some very important things about Cherie as the tale continues and this is whatworked so well for me. The reveals come naturally in the weaving of the story. They make sense yet they surprise right to the tense ending. There are nice bits of The Yellow Wallpaper wrapped up in a layer of Polanski's Repulsion...with ghosts. The question comes up; Is Cherie being haunted or is she haunting herself? Such an intriguing question.

Ghost Chant is as tight as a straitjacket and as disturbing as blood on the carpet. It is a quick read yet ready made for chills and shudders. If you are looking for a ghost story that is more than that, then this book will fit the bill.

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