I loved this book! I can easily see why Straub and Stephen King have collaborated because the feelings this book evoked in me are very similar to what I have felt while reading some of King's works. King and Straub are definitely kindred spirits. I just love the creepy and this book delivers big time in that regard. It's really hard to believe (well, not really) that the 1981 film based on this book is from this book at all. There is so much here that would have made the film better, but I digress. Straub takes his ghost story and turns it outside, inside, upside down. We have ghosts that are 'werewolves' and 'vampires', figuratively. It is alluded to in the book that perhaps ghosts such as these are where the old legends come from. We have mutilated livestock/horses drained of all blood...and humans too. Then there are seemingly benign girls and women who, with a certain knowing smile or look, give the chills as well. It's the subtlety of the writing, I think, that makes what would not normally be scary really damn scary. I think the tenets of this story are 1) if you do something bad, it will come back to haunt you and 2) don't sit around telling ghost stories. You just might find yourself in one.
I can't believe this is the first Peter Straub book I've ever read. It certainly will not be my last (since I own all/most of his books, reading them won't be a problem). If you haven't read Ghost Story, I recommend that you do posthaste!
About the book:
In life, not every sin goes unpunished.
For four aging men in the terror-stricken town of Milburn, New York, an act inadvertently carried out in their youth has come back to haunt them. Now they are about to learn what happens to those who believe they can bury the past -- and get away with murder.
Peter Straub's classic bestseller is a work of "superb horror" (The Washington Post Book World) that, like any good ghost story, stands the test of time -- and conjures our darkest fears and nightmares.