Genre: Paranormal, Halloween, Ghosts
LGBTQ+ Category: Gay
Reviewer: Ulysses, Paranormal Romance Guild
About The Book
Every time a shooting star is scheduled, Arthur, Carol and Tim choose a house with the best vantage point to haunt, carefully making sure its residents are not home.
But this time Arthur recognises the decor. The furnishings belong to his ex-boyfriend, Alexander, a man he never got over. And judging by the happy snaps in the photo frames, Alexander lives with a new lover.
Just as the ghosts settle in to watch the celestial event, the occupants return home early.
In the tradition of Noel Coward’s play, Blithe Spirit, Kevin Klehr’s ghostly short story is both amusing and chilling.
Three ghosts, Arthur, Carol and Tim, meet at a suburban house with a view to enjoy a shooting star—a custom the friends have developed over time. It is an interesting take on ghosts and what they can do—since the lore about ghostly abilities varies widely and is easily adapted to an author’s own wishes.
As the ghosts explore the house—whose owners are absent, which is part of the custom, the house spirit, Sabrina, watches them. I really enjoyed the notion of a “ghostly culture” in which behaviors and customs are established. It is lighthearted, filled with the banter of people who know each other and have done this before.
The story starts to get strange (stranger?) when Tim sees something as the trio explores the house. The attention turns to Arthur—and then the house’s owners return unexpectedly, shifting the tone of the story gradually darker.
There is an intentional feel of a sitcom episode in this story, yet the shock at the center of the narrative keeps the tone dark, even at its slapstick silliest. Ghosts are not just the spirits of the dead: they’re people, too, with feelings and memories (at least while they’re still “here”).
As the plot unspools to its finale, it turns to a quietly poignant tone, which is surprisingly touching and heartfelt. The whole story is a delightful surprise, covering a wide range of emotion in a short time.
Ulysses Grant Dietz grew up in Syracuse, New York, where his Leave It to Beaver life was enlivened by his fascination with vampires, from Bela Lugosi to Barnabas Collins. He studied French at Yale, and was trained to be a museum curator at the University of Delaware. A curator since 1980, Ulysses has never stopped writing fiction for the sheer pleasure of it. He created the character of Desmond Beckwith in 1988 as his personal response to Anne Rice’s landmark novels. Alyson Books released his first novel, Desmond, in 1998. Vampire in Suburbia, the sequel to Desmond, is his second novel.
Ulysses lives in suburban New Jersey with his husband of over 41 years and their two almost-grown children.
By the way, the name Ulysses was not his parents’ idea of a joke: he is a great-great grandson of Ulysses S. Grant, and his mother was the President’s last living great-grandchild. Every year on April 27 he gives a speech at Grant’s Tomb in New York City.
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