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The Ghosts of Who You Were

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In this chilling new collection from Bram Stoker Award-winner Christopher Golden, the author takes you on a tour of his darkest nightmares. From a little door inside an elevator to a hellish prison for stolen children, from a terrifying future where nightfall means death to a fairy tale past in which lies and illusion enrage the ghosts all around us. The Ghosts of Who You In this chilling new collection from Bram Stoker Award-winner Christopher Golden, the author takes you on a tour of his darkest nightmares. From a little door inside an elevator to a hellish prison for stolen children, from a terrifying future where nightfall means death to a fairy tale past in which lies and illusion enrage the ghosts all around us. The Ghosts of Who You Were collects some of Golden's finest stories, tales of bad fathers and ancient monsters, the promises of strangers, parties that never end, and a collection of Hollywood curses. Featuring the Bram Stoker Award-nominated story "The Bad Hour," The Ghosts of Who You Were is Golden's finest collection yet.


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In this chilling new collection from Bram Stoker Award-winner Christopher Golden, the author takes you on a tour of his darkest nightmares. From a little door inside an elevator to a hellish prison for stolen children, from a terrifying future where nightfall means death to a fairy tale past in which lies and illusion enrage the ghosts all around us. The Ghosts of Who You In this chilling new collection from Bram Stoker Award-winner Christopher Golden, the author takes you on a tour of his darkest nightmares. From a little door inside an elevator to a hellish prison for stolen children, from a terrifying future where nightfall means death to a fairy tale past in which lies and illusion enrage the ghosts all around us. The Ghosts of Who You Were collects some of Golden's finest stories, tales of bad fathers and ancient monsters, the promises of strangers, parties that never end, and a collection of Hollywood curses. Featuring the Bram Stoker Award-nominated story "The Bad Hour," The Ghosts of Who You Were is Golden's finest collection yet.

40 review for The Ghosts of Who You Were

  1. 5 out of 5

    Rachelle

    "Even heaven could become hell if you were a prisoner there." What a kick ass collection of a broad range of stories!! There is something here for everyone and they are all original and uniquely creepy. "Even heaven could become hell if you were a prisoner there." What a kick ass collection of a broad range of stories!! There is something here for everyone and they are all original and uniquely creepy.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Michael Hicks

    Christopher Golden's The Ghosts of Who You Were nicely balances the strange and outright horrific across the 11 short stories (two of which are novella or nearly-novella length) collected here. Golden wastes no time throwing readers into the thick of things with "The Abduction Door," a marvelous opener that forces readers to question what those smaller maintenance doors you sometimes see at the back of an elevator are really for. Or, more importantly, where they really, truly lead, and what might Christopher Golden's The Ghosts of Who You Were nicely balances the strange and outright horrific across the 11 short stories (two of which are novella or nearly-novella length) collected here. Golden wastes no time throwing readers into the thick of things with "The Abduction Door," a marvelous opener that forces readers to question what those smaller maintenance doors you sometimes see at the back of an elevator are really for. Or, more importantly, where they really, truly lead, and what might sometimes come through them. After his daughter is abducted through such a door, a determined father follows after, hellbent on rescuing her. "The Abduction Door" is a whopper of an opener, and a damn good portal story to boot! Based on its title, I though for sure "Wendy, Darling," was going to be a riff on The Shining, but Golden's ambitions reach much farther back than King's classic. The more astute, and less King obsessed, among us will no doubt immediately recognize the play on a name from one of J.M. Barrie's most famous creations, Peter Pan. Golden delivers a deft twist on Barrie's characters, casting Wendy as the central figure in a story rife with madness and the ghosts of the past as the Lost Boys try to put a stop to her wedding. Desperate to save her mother's life in "What Happens When the Heart Just Stops," Kayah and her friends venture out into the forbidden darkness of night. We get a wonderfully post-apocalyptic feel here, with Golden setting the stage and offering brief teases about what's happened to the world, but the focus is on a group of abandoned kids who have formed a gang, and a found-family, as they find themselves in a high-octane fight for survival. It's a terrific story, and one I would absolutely love to see Golden expand on, as there's so much potential story to be mined here. This is one of those works that practically begs to be reworked for a full-length novel. "A Hole in the World," co-written with Tim Lebbon, hits on so many of my own personal horror sweet spots, and is so much goddamned fun, that it's impossible not to mention here. We get the icy climes of Siberia, combined with subterranean horrors, and Russian soldiers facing off against a whole lot of cool alien creepy-crawlies. Seriously, what's not to love? This story was awesome! You can damn near smell the ocean and taste the salt on the air in "The Curious Allure of the Sea," as Jenny tries to make sense of her father's disappearance at sea and the strange stone discovered by police on his recovered fishing boat. Mesmerized by the imagery carved into the stone, and believing it held some significance for her father, Jenny has the symbols tattooed on her forearm. And then things get weird, even beyond being randomly attacked by sea gulls... This one's touching and bittersweet, and oh so wonderfully bizarre. Like "A Hole in the World," there's a pair of stories in here featuring James Massarsky, a Hollywood movie producer and collector of cinematic rarities that immediately captivated me thanks to my own shared interests with cinema and film collecting. Massarsky's collections lean more toward the occult than my own burgeoning collection of 4K steelbooks, which makes for better, and certainly far more entertaining, stories. "It's A Wonderful Knife" is a Christmas-set piece revolving around Massarsky's collection of dark movie props, like the gun that killed Brandon Lee during the filming of The Crow. Golden puts a neat little spin on things, and even though the story itself isn't exactly surprising it is awfully neat. Better was "The Face Is A Mask," centering around a cursed mask worn during a purportedly-real sacrifice that was filmed during the production of an unfinished movie. This one gets nicely bonkers and even a bit trippy, and I hope we get to see more of Massarsky in the near-future. Golden puts some neat twists on familiar horror tropes in "The Bad Hour" and his border revenge novella, "Pipers." In the former, a veteran heads to a backwoods town to reconnect with one of the men from her squad, but the locals don't react too well to her sudden appearance. The questions proliferate with each turn of the page - why are they trying to get rid of her? What are they hiding? Why is everyone in this town so damn weird? It's a fun piece and a neat play on some conventional horrors. In "Pipers," a Texas ranching community seeks revenge against the cartel that attacked their community and murdered dozens of friends and family. They're aided in this cause by a man named Enoch, who lost his own daughter to the cartel in grotesque fashion, and offers the survivors a set of bone pipes to play and the promise of miracles to come. Golden crafts a nicely devious revenge story here, layering in manipulations and double-crosses with finesse. Damn near every story in The Ghosts of Who You Were is a winner, and while Golden admits in his introduction that he's a novelist first and foremost, not a short story writer, it's clear that he does have some real chops as an author of short fiction. This isn't always the case, mind you. Short stories are their own peculiar and temperamental beast, and just because a writer can be a damn good novelist (and Golden most certainly is a damn good novelist - damn good!), that doesn't always mean they can juke and jive as adeptly with such small word counts. But given how insanely prolific Golden is, the man's had plenty of practice of the years. The Ghosts of Who You Were charts the author's journey as a short story writer, collecting his previously published short works from 2013 - 2020, and while he may be a damn good novelist first, he's also a very adept, and sometimes very surprising, short story writer.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Brennan LaFaro

    Golden kicks things off by letting the reader know he's never thought of himself as a short story writer, always a novelist, but maybe, just maybe, he's getting somewhere. I think most readers will have trouble disagreeing with that sentiment. TGOWYW kicks off with the first Golden story I ever read, "The Abduction Door" and I loved it as much, if not more, this time around. Golden's imagination runs amok in this one and despite the bleak subject matter, there's a sense of the author having the t Golden kicks things off by letting the reader know he's never thought of himself as a short story writer, always a novelist, but maybe, just maybe, he's getting somewhere. I think most readers will have trouble disagreeing with that sentiment. TGOWYW kicks off with the first Golden story I ever read, "The Abduction Door" and I loved it as much, if not more, this time around. Golden's imagination runs amok in this one and despite the bleak subject matter, there's a sense of the author having the time of his life writing this one. "Wendy, Darling" and "It's a Wonderful Knife" (worth the price for the title alone) complete an opening trifecta that suck the reader in while also offering variety, putting the author's chops on display. So to speak. As with any collection, some stories hit harder than others, or resonate with certain readers. Some that I loved included topsy-turvy take on "The Revelers", the inherent beauty of "The Allure of the Sea", and Golden putting his interest/love of world mythology on display in "The Bad Hour." Though it's difficult to lump in with short fiction, the collection concludes with "Pipers", quite possibly my favorite title contained within. Mixing cartel horror with a narrative focusing on how far a person would go to save someone they love, the beginning of this one is brutal and unexpected, a line Golden balances throughout the remainder. Golden doesn't shy away from getting a bit weird with this one, nor does he feel obligated to hold the reader's hand and explain every little thing. He simply allows the story to be the story, and it's probably stronger for it. With a little bit for everyone, TGOWYW is one of the more consistent collections I've read in 2021 with hits far outnumbering misses.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Eygló Karlsdóttir

    The best short story collection I’ve read all year and I read a lot of short stories! Highly recommended!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Paul McNamee

    Fantastic collection of haunts! Golden's short story work has only improved over time. This latest collection is stellar - full of haunts and evil and ghosts and the weird. Not to be missed! Fantastic collection of haunts! Golden's short story work has only improved over time. This latest collection is stellar - full of haunts and evil and ghosts and the weird. Not to be missed!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Patrick R. McDonough

    Solid stories with a brutally honest and upfront introduction from the author. Had a few favorites in this and for a guy that doesn't write a lot of short fiction, you'd never know it from this collection. Solid stories with a brutally honest and upfront introduction from the author. Had a few favorites in this and for a guy that doesn't write a lot of short fiction, you'd never know it from this collection.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Cindy Kinney ahlgren

  8. 4 out of 5

    Joseph Murry

  9. 4 out of 5

    Lira

  10. 5 out of 5

    Rob Hirbernik

  11. 5 out of 5

    Scott Neumann

  12. 4 out of 5

    Cathy

  13. 5 out of 5

    Ally

  14. 4 out of 5

    Scott Moses

  15. 5 out of 5

    destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries]

  16. 5 out of 5

    Veronika

  17. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

  18. 4 out of 5

    Alan Mahony

  19. 4 out of 5

    Pinky Ishikawa

  20. 4 out of 5

    Neal Dalton

  21. 5 out of 5

    Opal

  22. 5 out of 5

    Lee-ann

  23. 5 out of 5

    Emily Stivers

  24. 5 out of 5

    Knight Of

  25. 5 out of 5

    Rodd Baker

  26. 4 out of 5

    Niki_K

  27. 5 out of 5

    Laina SpareTime

  28. 4 out of 5

    Horace Derwent

  29. 5 out of 5

    Tanim Papon

  30. 5 out of 5

    Myles

  31. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

  32. 4 out of 5

    Amalee

  33. 4 out of 5

    Nate

  34. 4 out of 5

    Shell Hunt

  35. 5 out of 5

    Jill

  36. 4 out of 5

    DZMM

  37. 4 out of 5

    Scott

  38. 4 out of 5

    Erin Talamantes

  39. 4 out of 5

    Rachelle

  40. 4 out of 5

    Susan Burgess

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