Ghosts, ghouls, witches, spectres, demons, the Grim Reaper, vampires, leprechauns, the Devil, as well as a host of other supernatural beings - along with the odd unsolved murder thrown in for good measure - all to be found within the pages of this unique first volume of Tom Slemen's work. Thirty-six stories that will haunt your mind and delight your dark side, all from the pen of one of England's greatest writers on the supernatural - Tom Slemen. Read about the baffling mystery of Old Swan's Mass Grave - was it a cover-up by the authorities? Be thrilled by the creepy history of Springheeled Jack, and dwell morbidly on the nature of the real-life vampires such as Golgon, Araminta and Manilu. Learn about the elusive but deadly enchanting Elvi of Sefton Park, and of the murderess who danced with her hangman at a Victorian ball. Savour the exciting witchcraft wars that centred on the Swan Inn, and unravel the identity of the mastercriminal who killed Julia Wallace in 1931 and left generations of professional and armchair detectives perplexed by his method of slaying without a trace. Just some of the eerie stories to be found in The Best of Tom Slemen - Volume 1.
©2011 Tom Slemen (P)2014 Tom Slemen
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"3.5* - Some compelling stories worth listening to"
Some of the stories in this collection were very compelling, in my opinion. They included: 'Somewhere Only We Know', 'The Devil in the Cavern', 'The Wind From Hell', 'Duke Street's Weeping Widow', 'A Dance With Death', 'Strange Bird of Passage', 'The Waterfront Ghoul', and a few others. I felt that the stories in the second half of the book were generally stronger than the stories in the first half of the book. Short stories aren't my usual cup of tea, so if there are a few stories in a collection that I enjoy, then I have no regrets about investing the time to read/listen to the book. Mission accomplished for this book, then!
On the other hand, some of the stories were frustrating to listen to, usually for one of the following three reasons: First, they weren't what I'd consider to be ghost or paranormal stories. 'Who Killed Julia Wallace' and 'The Man of the Streets' are examples. They're crime stories and doesn't fit into a ghost/paranormal collection. Others sound more like essays (e.g., 'The Summer of the Leprechaun' and 'The Old Swan Mass Grave'), rather than stories because they were so commentary-heavy. These entries weren't necessarily bad, but they didn't fit with the overall theme of the book - my opinion is that they might fit better in a different themed book. The front cover image associated with this audiobook implies (!) that these are ghost-type stories - so my expectation is that I'll be reading spooky stories. I have different mental expectations when I read crime mysteries, so the non-ghost/paranormal stories clashed mentally/emotionally with the rest of the book.
Second, the author seems to be better at setting up stories than concluding them, and for some stories the writing style was almost juvenile ('Marriage Made in Hell' and 'A Picture of Evil' come to mind.). These stories maybe should have been edited more? The tone of the narration didn't help, which leads me to my third point....
Third, the narration didn't really work for me. Sometimes, the narrator spoke so excitedly/ quickly/ enthusiastically/ suspensefully that it disengaged me from the story. Some reviewers here seemed to like the narrator, while others didn't, so I suppose it's a matter of preference. For me, I don't necessarily think a narrator is bad, it's more like the narrator's style doesn't fit the genre or writing style of the book itself (like a 'right person-wrong time' bad romance). My personal opinion is that a narration for ghost paranormal books shouldn't be overly dramatic (unless it's a book meant for youngsters). I enjoy ghost/paranormal stories because of the 'scare jump' factor of some stories (e.g., face suddenly transforms into a demon), or because of the mystery and wonder of encountering something that defies rational explanation, followed by fear or disquiet. I think that maybe some of these stories would have resonated more with me if the narrator had tweaked his style a wee bit and let the words pack the punch rather than the tone of voice. I won't totally blame the narrator, though. Short stories can be challenging for readers like me to emotionally engage with, because there's no time for character or plot development. Some of my favourite audiobooks (see my other reviews here on audible) are ones where I perceive a synergy between the narrator and the author - the words and the voice align with the mental imagery that I'm building in my mind as I listen to an audiobook. For some of the better stories here, I was able to get into that zone. For some of the other stories, not so much.
Anyway, those are my two cents. I provided this review in exchange for a free copy of the audiobook, and I thank the author and the narrator (or whoever) for giving me an opportunity to listen to it free of charge.
"Silly Ghost Story Fun"
As is often the case with collections such as these, some stories fall a bit flat and some are incredible fun to hear. "The Best of Tom Slemen" is no exception! I'd recommend this collection to readers who enjoy a good ghost story. There's also some interesting background on Liverpool, England in this book, which I found fascinating.
I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator, or publisher.
I couldn't tell whether these stories were meant to be true macabre tales and tales of the supernatural or if they were made up by the author or both. Some were longer, some were shorter, some were about paranormal events, were murder mysteries. Sometimes Slemen would give his hypothesis as to a solution to the mystery and sometimes he didn't. The tales themselves seemed to be older in nature, sometimes seemingly passed down from generation to generation, sometimes as eyewitness accounts to events and even sometimes appearing to be from people the author had spoken to about what happened.
All seemed to have been penned in a rush and not very thoroughly edited. There were those I enjoyed. Such as the mass grave mystery, the witch war at the Swan Inn, the wind from hell, and the mystery of who killed Julia Wallace. Most, however, were just OK for me or didn't seem to make any sense at all.
Nicholas Patrella was very inconsistent in his delivery. Sometimes he spoke very fast and sometimes he spoke so slow it was irritating. In the end, I settled on listening at 1.5x and dealt with the rush of words during the times he spoke fast. I have listened to other book Patrella narrated and this one is not representative of his usually good storytelling.
I received this audiobook for free through Audiobook Boom! in exchange for an honest review.
"Would be better edited down to the actual "best""
From the moment I heard the narrator spend minutes rattling off the loooong table of contents of this book, I was worried. I think I was right to be.
This collection features more stories than I can remember, but the ones that bear rememberance were few and far between. Most of the "stories" are anecdotes read as if from a newspaper clipping. They tend not to be very interesting, beleivable and usually have no real resolution or make much sense at all.
There are, however, a few tales mixed in that are genuinely interesting, thought-provoking and/or creepy. Those carried the book for me.
As for the narrator, he did a fine job, but it would seem the editing was poor. There were many times where there were odd gaps in the audio (including during the insufferable table of contents) that distracted you from the tale (or woke you up :P ). The narrator also tried harder than the author did to make the tales extra spooky, so he ended up sounding as if he were telling a tale to kids by campfire or under a blanket with a flashlight.
Honestly, if this book were pared down to the stronger tales that were actual stories, this could have easily been 4, maybe 4.5 stars. As it stands, the hours of mundane anecdotes makes this an easy pass.
I was provided this book free of charge in exchange for my honest review.
I don't know, probably not. The stories had the potential to be good but after the first few they seemed to be quite the same to me, just different main characters. They stories i didn't find scary in the least and feel that if my 12 year old, who is scared of his own shadow, listened to it, he wouldn't find it scary at all either.
I haven't listed to any books by Tom Slemen before.
Not much. it was ok, that's about it
I was disappointed. I think of Ghost Stories as being creepy or scary and i didn't find it either.
"This audiobook was provided by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review courtesy of Audiobook Blast."
"Good very Short Horror Stories"
I did enjoy listening to this book. It has a wide variety of horror (ghosts, werewolves, vampires, etc). I really liked some of the stories and wanted them to continue (loved the ghost ones), a few were just ok. Recommend to anyone who loves horror short stories. I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator, or publisher. THANK YOU
"I gave this 3.5 stars"
I only gave this 3.5 star because some the stories where like a few minutes long, and I didn't find them entertaining. there are a few really good ones, and some creepy ones, but i didn't find any of them scary. there are a ton of stories in this book, most of them 10 plus minutes long.
I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator, or publisher.
"The Best of Tom Slemen"
Good scarey stories!Too many to remember specifics.If you like short stories in the horror vein,here's your man!Nicholas Patrella is a fine narrator for this compendium.
I was given this book free for an honest review
"Good stories - HORRIBLE Narration"
Someone else narrating!
I don't know. Too painful to listen to. Too fast and badly read.
I don't know. Didn't listen to anymore after about 20 minutes. Actually painful to listen too.
Would love to have listened to the stories, but the narrator made that impossible. I actually returned the book because I was so frustrated.
"Unique ghost stories. "
You will enjoy these stories. Presenter is lively and eager to deliver them. Give this one a try.
This audiobook was provided by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review courtesy of Audiobook Blast.
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