Marcus LiBrizzi,
Ghosts of Acadia
(Down East, 2011)

If the only test of a collection of ghost stories is the atmosphere it conjures, Marcus LiBrizzi's Ghosts of Acadia is a rousing success.

LiBrizzi paints the lovely, tourist-driven region of Maine with a broad, spirit-heavy brush that would have readers believe that every house, every walking path, every island and rock from the thriving streets of Bar Harbor to the protected forests and mountains of Acadia and the rocky isles off the coast is screaming with ghosts.

And not just picturesque specters that glow and raise the hair on the nape of your neck, either. The stories in this slim volume are of the malevolent sort. These ghosts are angry, and if they could hurt you, they would.

As ghost stories go, this is exactly the sort of book you turn to for entertainment and chills. It's not written in the most scholarly fashion, although the list of references in the back shows that LiBrizzi did ample legwork before writing. Sure, it'd be nice to know if any of these haunts have been studied in any scientific kind of way, but I suppose that would kill the mood.

And LiBrizzi's book is nothing if not moody. And that is probably the only real weakness here; his superlatives are excessive to the point of caricature. Every chapter is packed with so much darkness and horror that, at some point, you just stop taking him seriously. I mean, I've spent a lot of time in Maine, and it's just not all that eerie.

But the book is fun to read, and ultimately that's what matters.

book review by
Tom Knapp

2 July 2011

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