Review: 20th Century Ghosts – Joe Hill

20th century ghosts cover

SYNOPSIS: A collection of short stories.

Imogene is young and beautiful. She kisses like a movie star and knows everything about every film ever made. She’s also dead and waiting in the Rosebud Theater for Alec Sheldon one afternoon in 1945….

Arthur Roth is a lonely kid with big ideas and a gift for attracting abuse. It isn’t easy to make friends when you’re the only inflatable boy in town….

Francis is unhappy. Francis was human once, but that was then. Now he’s an eight-foot-tall locust and everyone in Calliphora will tremble when they hear him sing….

John Finney is locked in a basement that’s stained with the blood of half a dozen other murdered children. In the cellar with him is an antique telephone, long since disconnected, but which rings at night with calls from the dead….

The past isn’t dead. It isn’t even past… – via Goodreads

GRADE 7.5I am sure it is common knowledge by now that I am a massive Joe Hill fan (thank you Cara). This is one of the few books I haven’t read, so when Melissa at The Creative Fox Den let me know she was reading 20th Century Ghosts, she sparked all sorts of envy in me and I jumped at the small gap in my schedule to fit in another book. Wow, worth every single second. This book is a compendium of short stories by Hill. Some are brilliant, some are alright, some are downright bizarre (which I appreciate, it means he thinks outside the box), some are freaky, others make you think, and some are just so weird you don’t even know how to comprehend what you just read. Some of the shorts showed you small ideas that were later realised in his bigger novels, or you can draw parallels to, and those really get under the skin. I was fascinated from page one, and loved the collection of stories that came together in here, so many different types, some that stand out more than others, but all of them pretty well written. Voluntary Committal was an incredibly interesting and exceptionally creepy story, I loved it and think it was hands down my favourite one, and the longest short in the book. That could definitely have made one crazy novel, but I sort of like it just being that short little bit. Obviously the book is a good read and relatively fast read, too, and it is engaging (as if I expected any less). I enjoyed every moment with this book for so many reasons, and I can most certainly recommend it!

12 thoughts on “Review: 20th Century Ghosts – Joe Hill

    1. Mah Kidney!

      It was very good 🙂 I thoroughly enjoyed it. Some were creepy as hell, others were interesting. Maybe one day when you are feeling brave!



  1. I onlymanaged to get halfway through!! Something came up and when I went to renew it, someone else already had a hold on it. So I’m going to go back and get it. I read the ghost in the theatre (ok) the guys who turned into the locust (gross! And pretty great), the balloon boy (so strange and sad), the first one about the author (loved it!)… and I think that’s it. I’m so sad I had to return it!!

    Great review though!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That rat bastard (whoever it is – even though they have great taste)!

      Oh my gosh, some of the really good ones are to come still, especially that last story!

      Can’t wait to hear your final thoughts on it 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I like that all the stories aren’t straight horror and her really comes up with some interesting new scary entities instead of the usual horror tropes. My favorite were the more weird tales, like the balloon boy…I had reviewed this a while ago and liked it. What surprises me is I still remember some of the stories which doesn’t always happen with short story collections.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly! Some of them were just these bizarre little things, but it all worked rather well. That balloon boy story was definitely something different! I agree with you there – short stories never really linger, but there were a few from here that actually stay with you.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Per usual, my response is super belated, but yaaaayyyy!!! I’m so glad you got around to this. I adore this book. It was my first Joe Hill experience, actually. My favorite is “Pop Art.” So many feels. Great review, lady! I am 100% thrilled introducing you to Joe Hill turned out so well. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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