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Ghost Story

Written by: Peter Straub
Narrated by: Buck Schirner
Length: 22 hrs and 33 mins
4 out of 5 stars (22 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

#1 New York Times bestselling author Peter Straub’s classic tale of horror, secrets, and the dangerous ghosts of the past...

What was the worst thing you’ve ever done?

In the sleepy town of Milburn, New York, four old men gather to tell each other stories - some true, some made-up, all of them frightening. A simple pastime to divert themselves from their quiet lives.

But one story is coming back to haunt them and their small town. A tale of something they did long ago. A wicked mistake. A horrifying accident. And they are about to learn that no one can bury the past forever...

©1989 Peter Straub (P)2012 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Well thought out and creepy.

This is one of the Straub books that has favorably weathered many years since its publication. It is a well-written, scary story that is enhanced by the complex plot and strong characters that I feel lovers of the horror genre will enjoy. My only complaint is the narration: Buck Schimer obviously tried his best but he should really be reading the nightly news and not narrating a novel.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Jaimie
  • 2012-07-17

Great Story! The Best of Peter Straub

If you are looking for fast-paced horror this is not the book for you. But if you enjoy an interesting, eerie story that slowly unfolds you will love this book. It is well written, steady paced, and, for the most part, well narrated.
I was initially discouraged from this book because other listeners had complained of bad narration. While it is true that the narrator does a poor impersonation of a woman's voice it is not completely off-putting. Imagine Charlton Heston impersonating a woman and you will have a good idea of what to expect.
The main characters are wealthy, retirement-aged, small town men who befriended one another years before the story picks up. Don't let this put you off. The characters will become relatable and endearing shortly into the story.
If you enjoy this book, you will also enjoy The Good House by Tananarive Due and Phantoms by Dean Koontz.

45 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • adrienne
  • 2012-11-29

More than ghosts!

If you are looking for a book that is short, fast paced, has thrills in every chapter, and lots lots of ghosts, this isn’t it.

However, this is a well written eerie story that covers the adult lifetimes of five men, now at retirement age. An incident that happened when they were young men bound them together and twisted their individual and collective fates. The consequences happened subtly at first and to some more than others. In their late years things get more intense and blatant; they realize that the consequences of their youthful deed will kill them, all their relatives, and many others.

The story is created in layers. The horror in the present is punctuated by flashbacks into the lives of the five members of the Chowder Club that has kept them close friends over the many years. They enlist the help of the nephew of an already deceased member and find that he has been affected too. The “evil” that is toying with them gradually comes into focus. Their town and its people come under siege. This requires that the author explain the histories and relationships of some spouses, business clients, friends, and the sheriff.

Peter Straub does an excellent job of creating all the story strands and weaving them together. Be prepared to sit back and let the 22.5 hours unwind. The end is satisfying, but leaves just enough to the listener’s imagination.

Buck Schirner's narration is more than adequate. Since most characters are male, a male narrator is most appropriate. It’s understood that he can’t do female voices.

15 people found this helpful

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  • Heather Quinn
  • 2015-02-22

Stop complaining about the narrator

I almost didn't get this book because so many people complained about the narrator. While he doesn't do Stella any justice, all the other voices were really good! The narrator had to do upwards of 20 voices, if not more! He did a great job! I was really impressed.
Overall the book was good. I'm not much into fiction but I love scary stories. This wasn't the scariest novel I've ever read, but it was pretty intense at times. I enjoyed it. It was certainly unique.

38 people found this helpful

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  • David S. Mathew
  • 2016-10-27

The Root of Evil

Steven King named Peter Straub's Ghost Story as one of the greatest horror novels of modern times, alongside The Exorcist and Rosemary's Baby. King's comparison is very well earned.

Like with those novels, Straub takes his sweet time building up his world, specifically the town of Milburn and the history of the Chowder Society, but if you give this a chance you will not be disappointed. A deeply frightening story about the root of all supernatural horrors. I very highly recommend checking it out... this ghost story will really haunt you.

12 people found this helpful

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  • jacques
  • 2012-11-11

Give it time to get into gear...

Any additional comments?

This download is separated int three parts. The first is very, very slow moving. Add to the overall blandness of the beginning; a narrator that sounds as if he is just about ready to keel over and die, ( he ends his sentences with a wierd kind of gasp, like he's run out of air) you might be tempted to leave the book unfinished: DON'T!
I put my Ipod on double speed and the narration sounded just about normal.
When this book took off, it was worth the agony and doubt of the first part. Death and betrayal and destruction in a smalltown community, which, strangely, seems to have a problem with primiscuity among its leading, and aged citizens.( Thankfully there were no embarassing descriptions of senoir love making.) Reminded me a lot of Stephen King, sans the anticlimactic ending. Good story, give it a chance.

12 people found this helpful

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  • fadedcharacter
  • 2015-03-19

Slow steady boil to frightening

Thoroughly enjoyed this book & can't believe I hadn't ever read it before. Narrator did a nice job with so many characters.

6 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Matthew
  • 2013-12-11

Long Story Short.

Quite a few reviewers have said the first part of the book (it's three parts) was long and uneventful. It's true. However the author spends quite a bit of time getting you to know the characters and shows you how each ended up where they are at and why they are in the book. I enjoyed it and will listen to it again one day. I highly recommend it.

13 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Amanda
  • 2012-10-04

Fun and spooky, perfect for October

Would you consider the audio edition of Ghost Story to be better than the print version?

I have not read the print version, but it's definitely better than the movie!

What did you like best about this story?

The intricacies of the American Gothic represented. This is a traditional masculine Gothic tale that is complex and heavily character driven. Tons of embedded narratives allow for multiple ghost stories within "Ghost Story". And for the more horror-oriented it includes hints of witchcraft, ghosts, changelings, vampires, werewolves, haunted houses AND murder! What more could one want?

Which scene was your favorite?

I liked the embedded narrative about Fenny Bate the best. It is a story told by Sears about when he was a new school teacher in the town, and his experience trying to act as mentor to Fenny Bate. I don't want to give spoilers, but the tale is at once frightening, disturbing and tragic. There are many great scenes in the novel, but this one struck me the most.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I couldn't if I tried! It's too long for that. I did have the urge to listen to it for large blocks of time.

Any additional comments?

This book is perfect for October. If you have seen the movie, don't let it fool you. "Ghost Story" is chilling and complex, and will keep you at the edge of your seat.

12 people found this helpful

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  • audra n cox
  • 2019-01-24

Boring

I struggled to finish listening the story is slow and only picks up and becomes interesting towards the end for about 30 minutes

1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Tam
  • 2018-11-29

Wish I'd given up after the first 2 hours

I have never given up on a listen, but this one was almost my first. I kept hoping that the characters would start to be engaging and that I'd start to care about any of them. It never happened. There were so many characters introduced and it was hard to keep track of what was going on. I found most of them to be whiny or evil.

When I got to the end of the book, I was hugely relieved it was over and seriously irritated with myself for having stuck through the whole book. I've generally liked previous books by this author, but maybe this one would have been better for reading than listening.

1 person found this helpful