Title: Into Dust and Other Strange Tales
Author: B.M. Keeling
Publication Date: 20 July 2015
’In the darkness the harbinger sings, Of death, destruction, The end of all things.’ An injured soldier crosses a moor in the midst of a storm, a man chases an elusive woman through the streets of York, four children play in an abandoned house on a crumbling cliff top… Containing eight chilling stories of love, despair, loneliness and redemption, Into Dust is a collection of supernatural tales which will have you lighting a fire, reaching for a drink and, of course, locking your door.
I must first apologise to the author, B.M. Keeling, as she provided me with a review copy of Into Dust and Other Strange Tales quite some time ago. Whilst I started reading the book around Halloween time, I was unable to finish it/prepare the review until recently for certain reasons.
I am not generally a fan of the horror genre and, in fact, cannot recall ever having read a horror book before. As such, I was interested to give Into Dust and Other Strange Talesa try.
The book contains eight short ghost stories, each one a stand-alone tale, telling of despair, loneliness and the supernatural. The stories are subtle, timeless and chilling! In each case, the author takes a simple story and gives it a twist which renders each one a haunting tale that will resonate with the reader long after the book is finished.
I found that the apparent simplicity of the stories almost invited me, as the reader, to decide upon the fear-factor myself based on my own imagining of the tales. This caused each tale to not only spook me (as per any good ghost story) but also caused the stories to seek further into the depths of my consciousness, making me mull over the issues in the tales. The tales, whilst ghost stories, are more about the people involved than about the supernatural entities. On several occasions, I found myself flipping back through the pages to re-read sections of the stories. in case I had missed anything important!
I thought the writing was very good. Whilst being modern tales, the prose was reminiscent of the classic old-fashioned ghost stories. It was clear, precise and gripping, showing the reader the true horror of the tale without resorting to overtly terrifying language or cheap shock tactics.
The eight stories are entitled: The Final Soul; Rock Me Gently and I Shall Sleep; Into Dust; Red Carnations for my Love; Beneath the Brushwood; The White Wolf; Chasing the Tail; We All Go The Same Way Home. I think that my favourite story was probably the very first one, The Final Sole. I found it truly chilling but, at the same time, I understood and empathised with the very human feelings of the characters. I felt the loneliness of Lucy, the anger and pain of Samuel Grimes and the guilt of Frank Wallace. This story probably resonated with me most of all.
Overall, I thought this was a well-written book containing genuinely spooky tales with a bit of depth that would appeal to a wide range of readers, not just lovers of the horror genre.
A perfect book to read on a cold, bleak winter’s night, although maybe you would prefer not to read it when in the house alone….
About the Author
Bernadette lives in Leeds, UK with her family and can generally be found either playing with her son or huddled over a laptop. Further information can be found at www.bmkeeling.com where she also blogs.