Title: A Ghostly Assignment
Author: Rosalind Minett
Publication Date: December 31, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Horror, Mystery, Paranormal, Contemporary, Historical
Length: 35 pages
Source: I received a free copy from the author.
Rating: 4 Stars
When journalism students, Jake and Sara, investigate reports of a ghost, they’re cynical. They assume a village myth and fanciful gossip. In the dark of night near the local lake they begin their watch. They are standing together yet their weird experiences are separate, even in time. Shocked to the core, they return to normal life only to discover the lasting effect of their first assignment, one no-one could have predicted.
Content Warning: A witch trial, murder, and children being orphaned.
Future generations may mostly forget an atrocity, but the land remembers every detail.
Don’t worry if horror isn’t a genre you generally like. This was quite scary, but it wasn’t gory or gross in any way. It’s one of those transcendent horror stories that I’d recommend to anyone who loves history, mysteries, folklore, ghosts, or justice. I smiled and nodded along as I took note of the ways the current residents of this rural area dealt with a shameful and terrible chapter of their history. That’s a problem that many communities have, after all, and it can be great fodder for fiction. I enjoyed the way the author revealed what happened while still grounding the first section in scenes that felt true to life. It was important to establish that realism before jumping into the frightening paranormal events that were soon to follow.
This tale either involved some possible time travel or the main character’s mind being so overwhelmed with someone else’s memories that she thought she was the person performing those actions. I loved both of these possibilities, but I wished the author had been more clear about which interpretation we were supposed to think was probably the right one. While I generally don’t mind ambiguity in what I read, this was one of those cases when the audience really needs to know how trustworthy a character’s memory is of a specific incident because of how important it is to everything that comes before and after it. If this had been made more clear, I would have happily gone with a full five-star rating.
It was interesting to see how Ms. Minett connected the actions of superstitious villagers from a few hundred years ago to the lives of people living in this universe today. I can’t go into much detail about that without giving away spoilers, but I appreciated what she was doing there and thought there was something to be said for showing how much someone can be affected by the past even if they don’t know anything about it.
A Ghostly Assignment made me shudder.