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Ash Wednesday

3.37  ·  Rating Details ·  86 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
Scattered through the streets and homes of Merridale are glowing, transparent blue forms, frozen in their death agonies. They do not speak--and are all the more terrifying for their silence.

Merridale's dead have returned. All hell is about to break loose.
Paperback, 372 pages
Published April 1st 1989 by Tor Books (first published 1987)
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Community Reviews

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Feb 20, 2014 Andrew rated it liked it
This is a strange book from an author I would love to explore more about (I see he has connections to the Crow books which during the early 90s was all the rage and was the favourite of several of my friends). This book takes a "what if..." statement and turns it in to a full blown exploration - the apparitions draw out peoples, fears and insecurities, their failures and the crimes with some expected and unexpected results. I guess this for a horror book at least is really a character piece and ...more
May 21, 2008 Eric rated it it was ok
This book is considered a modern horror classic. I don't think it's very good and don't understand what the big deal was about.

The premise is interesting enough. On Ash Wednesday, the good folks of Merridale, PA wake up to find ghosts all over their small town. These ghosts are naked. They are in houses, streets, public buildings, everywhere. The apparitions are frozen in the exact moment of their deaths, so some are quite gruesome, others are peaceful. The ghosts neither speak nor move. They're
Sep 25, 2011 T.L. rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror
Goddamn, Chet.
I thought this more than once while reading this novel, about a town called Merridale, and the bizarre thing that happens there.

One night, all the dead of Merridale show up, glowing blue, where they died. If it was crossing the street and getting hit by a car, if it was sitting in the den watching TV, if it was in the hospital - where ever they took their last breath, and in what ever state that was, that's where and how they appear. For no discernible reason.

How the denizens of t
Dec 06, 2011 Cheryl rated it really liked it
This is one of those books written by an author who never really did anything else noteworthy, and I just read it as a fluke. But I think of this story all the time! It's about a town in which one day -- for no reason -- translucent unmoving ghostly images of bodies, showing exactly the way someone appeared at the moment of their death, appeared. So, for example, hospital beds were full of them (imagine waking up in that) and you could go see a loved one again if you knew where he or she died ...more
Nov 03, 2009 Robert rated it liked it
Solid, thoughtful study of a community's reactions to an inexplicable city-wide supernatural event. I found it smart & thoroughly entertaining. Ignore the lurid cover, which presents the novel as a bloodcurdling mainstream horror thriller, which it simply is not. This opened the book up to reactions such as the one from the reviewer below, who wrote: "The ghosts are just a prop in this story and probably some kind of metaphor for something." Gee, ya think? ;-)
I was pleasantly surprised by this book. It was one of the few stories I've read that doesn't rely completely on monsters or gore to still give you the shivers. Ash Wednesday reminds us that the real terrors aren't the monsters or ghosts, but fallible human beings with deep interwoven pasts and proverbial skeletons in the closet.
Nov 14, 2016 Abraham rated it really liked it
I really loved this book. It not only has the trademarks of horror, but it has the dramatic aspects of a thought provoking exploration of life and death. The story plays on the readers mind and lingers long after the is book is over. This is actually one book I really didn't want to end. The stories all weaved together to create a storytellers mastery.

That is what makes this book unique, you are given the life, and past of the town folks. Each story is told in flashbacks that come together in th
Feb 26, 2009 Mike rated it it was ok
Not exactly what I would call horror, but it has some elements of it. A very original concept... what happens when a ton of ghostly images of dead people appear in a small town, and nothing seems to happen? As the story progresses, they do have an effect, but not what I first expected. Chet Williamson has a very professional writing style.
Mike Flinchum
Oct 05, 2015 Mike Flinchum rated it really liked it
Great wraparound story. Compelling characters and twisted plot. I felt the full spectrum of emotion in this one. I will have to check out some other works of Chet Williamson.
Dec 12, 2013 Jenny rated it it was amazing
Shelves: spec-fiction
I read this some years ago and LOVED it. I must get another copy and re-read it. It's one of those stories that never quite leaves you.
Scott Goudsward
Scott Goudsward rated it really liked it
May 04, 2014
Janvier rated it liked it
Mar 25, 2016
Trina rated it it was ok
Jul 17, 2015
Dan Smith
Dan Smith rated it it was ok
Sep 25, 2009
Crystal Perry
Crystal Perry rated it liked it
Aug 12, 2014
Mike Burns
Mike Burns rated it really liked it
Feb 14, 2012
Networkdub rated it really liked it
Apr 14, 2015
Se71 rated it liked it
Oct 25, 2014
Stephen Glover
Stephen Glover rated it liked it
Feb 08, 2014
Mandy rated it it was ok
Feb 16, 2015
Michael Brown
Michael Brown rated it liked it
Aug 11, 2012
Jun 21, 2009 Charles rated it liked it
Shelves: horror
Chet Williamson is a hard hitting writer. Definitely horror. I enjoyed it quite a lot.
Jack Haringa
Jack Haringa rated it it was amazing
Jan 14, 2008
Martin Groseclose
Martin Groseclose rated it it was ok
Mar 14, 2015
Roy Richard
Roy Richard rated it liked it
Dec 28, 2013
Jon Recluse
Jon Recluse rated it it was amazing
Sep 16, 2014
Starr rated it it was amazing
May 31, 2015
Michael Gough
Michael Gough rated it it was ok
Feb 06, 2016
Laronza Wiley-moore
it was okay. not really my cup of tea.
Stephanie Peterson
Stephanie Peterson rated it really liked it
May 06, 2015
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Chet Williamson has written horror, science fiction, and suspense since 1981. Among his novels are Second Chance, Hunters, Defenders of the Faith, Ash Wednesday, Reign, Dreamthorp, and the forthcoming Psycho Sanitarium, an authorized sequel to Robert Bloch's classic Psycho. Over a hundred of his short stories have appeared in The New Yorker, Playboy, Esquire, The Magazine of F&SF, and many ...more
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