Sarob Press , 2016
A review by Mario Guslandi
Malevolent Visitants is the third short story collection by CE Ward, following Vengeful Ghosts and Seven Ghosts and One Other, all published but the excellent small imprint Sarob Press.
A follower of MR James, Ward is a gifted author, able to recreate truly Jamesian atmospheres, not providing simple amateurish pastiches, but writing excellent, subtly disturbing original tales, cleverly plotted and elegantly told.
The current book assembles a bunch of new, delightful ghostly tales able to elicit pleasant shivers in the reader.
Here we have a few fine examples. “At Dusk” is a story full of insidious menace set in the gloomy atmosphere of a country graveyard, while “One Over the Twelve” is a tale of depravity and murder, where punishment comes from beyond the grave.
The dark, unsettling “Merfield Hall” depicts unholy practices taking place in a cursed mansion owned by a disreputable character.
The excellent “The Gift” , a sequel to MR James’ “The Experiment”, is a truly antiquarian tale full of disquieting, forbidden secrets, while “The House of Wonders” is a sinister piece revolving around a contemptible amusement house exhibiting frightening samples of real horror.
My favourite story, perhaps, is “Squire Thorneycroft”, a veritable delight for any ghost story lover. A superb story indeed, enhanced by an unforgettable, terrifying final scene.
As customary with Sarob Press titles, the print run is very limited, so I strongly advise you to hurry and purchase a copy of this charming collection of dark fiction.