Patapsco Spirits (Angelico Press, June 5, 2023)
Addison Hodges Hart, an American relocated in Norway, is a versatile author who has now successfully tried his hand at creating ghost stories.
The present volume collects eleven ghostly tales, most of which are impressively good, skillfully avoiding the always common risk of repeating old clichés.
The title evokes the Patapsco River Valley and Ellicott City, Maryland, where Hart grew up.
Among the included stories here are my favorite.
The atmospheric “The Grisly Pond” revolves around a pond endowed with a peculiar power of attraction exerting some uncanny effects on a sensitive man, while “ From All Ill Dreams” is an engrossing tale of possession where an evil first wife haunts her former husband and his new bride.
“The Debunker” is the very enjoyable portrait of a man devoted to “debunking” fake paranormal events and of his final experience at the top floor of a supposedly haunted mansion, while “Henry” is yet another excellent and very entertaining story about an unusual ghost always trying to get inside an old castle.
“When the Hurlyburly’s Done” is a solid ghostly tale about unsettling family relationships.
In “They Fly Forgotten” events deeply buried in the past come out in the open in an unexpected, supernatural way.
Hart is a gifted storyteller and the present volume is highly recommended to any lover of the subgenre, and good fiction in general.
Mario Guslandi was born in Milan, Italy, where he currently lives. He became addicted to horror and supernatural fiction (too) many years ago, after accidentally reading a reprint anthology of stories by MR James, JS Le Fanu, Arthur Machen etc. Most likely the only Italian who regularly reads (and reviews) dark fiction in English, he has contributed over the years to various genre websites such as Horrorworld, Hellnotes, The British Fantasy Society, The Agony Column and many more. His last review for us was Lisa Tuttle’s new collection, Riding the Nightmare.