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The Spook House

3.36  ·  Rating Details  ·  89 Ratings  ·  11 Reviews
A little boy is lost in the wilderness with nothing but his wooden toy knife to protect him, when he comes across a ghastly spectacle of unspeakable terror. Two travellers caught in a storm one night take shelter in a deserted plantation house and discover a room filled with the dead. An old man suspected of murder gets a grisly comeuppance...

These are just some of the cou
Paperback, 234 pages
Published 2009 by Penguin Classics (first published September 23rd 2008)
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Lorenzo Berardi
This book was not too bad, but a bit monotonous, I'm afraid.
Short and sometimes very short Gothic-like stories about haunted houses, people appearing and disappearing out of the blue mostly in the US but also in the UK.

Just like Edgar Allan Poe, Ambrose Bierce was a very interesting fellow, but he somehow fails to impress me here with just a few remarkable exceptions.
All in all, these miniatures of horror short stories are what I consider a decent reading before going to bed. A few possible ni
Benjamin Stahl
Dec 05, 2015 Benjamin Stahl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I just wrote a slightly longer review, but accidentally clicked on the wrong link and lost it. Damn it.

Anyway, I would say this is one of Bierce's creepiest stories.
Kyriakos Sorokkou
What a disappointment this was!
The first half of the book up to "An Unfinished Race" were indeed tales of the macabre, but due to marketing reasons the cover wasn't honest. Those were not terrifying stories, those were terrifyingly boring stories. Especially the law court story, "The Famous Gilson Bequest", worst story of this collection. I bought this book in order to scare myself, with the macabre, with terror, with bewilderment, but instead many stories were annoyingly vague with abrupt endin
Robert Hepple
A collection of 37 very short stories by Ambrose Bierce, mostly first published around the 1890s and 1900s, but published for the first time in this collection in 2008. The cover describes the stories as ‘terrifying tales of the macabre’ which is a bit of an exaggeration, because whilst they are certainly macabre, they are not terrifying. There are some recurring themes, such as haunted houses and the American Civil War, the latter not surprising as he took part in that conflict. Bierce’s sardon ...more
Russell Grant
Seems this Gothic horror collection by Penguin is mostly collections of short stories. This one though, barely has stories, one's a page long. They're the typical Victorian mix of ghosts and what not. What sets this one apart though is Bierce skips the annoying patter that marred the previous collections I reviewed, and is more content to wallow in the gore and grotesque. Makes it much more interesting except...

The stories are just too damned short! Many of them are incredibly confusing to read
Philip Chaston
An enjoyable set of supernatural stories from Ambrose Bierce circling round the sense of the other in nineteenth century America. The ghosts of the frontier terrorise the present. For the vapid, reading Bierce reminds us that Americans had a definite sense of their own history, as newcomers and as migrants with homes abandoned, towns desolate and cemeteries untended by the living....

The stories of this slim tome do tend to merge together in style and substance. One or two alone give the flavour
Judging by the tendency of people in Bierce's stories to die or go mad at the sudden reappearance of a former lover, its perhaps fortunate that this tendency of older ghost stories hasn't continued, or there might be a lot of corpses about the place. The other theme is of disappearances, usually unexplained. Not particularly scary, but there are some moments of powerful writing.
James Wayne Proctor
A phantasmagorical festival of freak outs.
Mike Ward
Jul 06, 2012 Mike Ward rated it did not like it
Like a lot of short story collections, didn't really do it for me - I gave up about five stories
Dec 05, 2013 Katie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Short, sweet and spine-tingling.
Aug 28, 2013 Lois rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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Ambrose Gwinnett Bierce (1842-1914) was an American editorialist, journalist, short story writer, fabulist and satirist. Today, he is best known for his short story, An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge and his satirical lexicon, The Devil's Dictionary.

The sardonic view of human nature that informed his work – along with his vehemence as a critic, with his motto "nothing matters" – earned him the ni
More about Ambrose Bierce...

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