Updated: Oct 10, 2022
GHOSTWRITTEN by Ronald Malfi is made up of four brand new novellas. So, I would say this is a good platter of Malfi for you to jump into. Especially if you’ve heard of him or have seen his name around and didn’t know where to start. These four novellas are all different but carry a common theme.
The novellas are about stories and books and manuscripts. And they all have the horror undertones. They have the supernatural aspects Malfi is known for.
Now just in case you’re thinking since these all are about books or stories; they will become repetitive. That is not the issue. I didn’t think so. Each story is different, just connected with a theme of written words.
All four novellas are very strong and solid. There is one that didn’t click with me as much as the others, but I think it’s just a preference thing. We will get to that in a minute.
Kicking things off, we have THE SKIN OF HER TEETH. A book that makes people go crazy. It drives them mad. It involves the world of movies, with an agent, and a screenplay needing to be completed, a huge deal that may collapse if this screenplay isn’t done. It could possibly have a little Meta. But none the less it has a lot of tension and what I call some good old horror. Pretty straightforward. A strong presentation. And a fulfilling delivery. A good way to kick off this collection. A mood setter.
Next up THE DARK BROTHER'S LAST RIDE. This one is dark and gritty. Do you remember the movie SEVEN? They had to transport the box but couldn’t open the box? What’s in the Box? Same concept but with a briefcase. And it gets a little fun because you know someone is not going to follow directions properly.
The third story, THIS BOOK BELONGS TO OLO, is the one I may have struggled to really get into. It’s still a good strong story with an engrossing plotline. It just teeters a little on Fantasy. And I’m not the biggest Fantasy fan. I didn’t mind it being more YA compared to the others in the collection, because there are plenty of good YA horror stories. It’s more dark fantasy I think you can say. The heart of this story is one you may need to dig a little deeper about a child who is lonely and parents who are always too busy. That can be a deeply emotional story within itself. Actually, I can see this one being a movie with cool special effects, and I probably would be into it a little more.
And finally, we have THE STORY which is about, a story. You guessed it. And I think you are in for a treat with this one. It may play with your mind a little. I think I’ve read the concept attempted by others, but Malfi pulls it off. You see a character's descent into madness. It's great. And it’s a concept piece, so be ready for that. You may remember some of those “Choose Your Own Adventure” or “Choose Your Own Ending” type stories. Keep that in mind. And I think it’s one that may have the reader questioning their own existence. I don’t want to get too deep, so we will keep it at that.
So, there you have four new novellas all wrapped up in one collection by Ronald Malfi. All of them enjoyable. Just the third one I had a little trouble really getting into, but I think you will be just fine.
Overall they all have very solid and well put together storylines and great character development. Grady is a great character in “The Story.”
Full of creepiness and suspense and high tension. And no need for cheap jump scares. This is a good collection from Malfi. Like I mentioned earlier it may be a good starting point just to get an idea for his style and his voice. I don’t think there is anything too extreme or graphic. There are a few tongue-in-cheek moments. And you may even find yourself getting lost at times being so wrapped up with the story. Those are the kind that you know work really well.
Author: Ronald Malfi
Publisher: Titan Books
Publication Date: October 11, 2022
Format Reviewed: eBook