Tag Archives: ghost story

The Best Ghost Mystery Stories

So you don’t want to sleep tonight, do you?

My final list of books that I’ve prepared for Shepherd.com is the best ghost mystery stories.

best ghost mystery books

Why I love horror stories

We try and pretend the world is not mysterious, in the vague hope of exerting some control over our lives. But that’s a doomed endeavour. Everything will always slip away from our grasp, plummeting into a chasm that we can only fill with two human responses: awe or terror. Sometimes – perhaps most often – both.

This is why I’ve always preferred the gothic and sublime to the classical and ordered. Both are necessary, but the gothic like the church spire always points to the infinite, to the profound mystery that envelops us. That’s why I’ve liked horror movies and books ever since I was a kid. You’re forever clutching at a cushion, guessing – or rather fearing – what lies ahead, just around that corner…

And that’s why I started writing ghost stories, books that major in suspense and make you realise, as Stephen King’s narrator says in Bag of Bones, that “reality is thin, you know, thin as lake ice after a thaw, and we fill our lives with noise and light and motion to hide that thinness from ourselves.”

My favourite ghost mystery stories

So if you’re hankering after a shot of terror (often with a smidgeon of awe thrown in), check out my best ghost mystery stories here. And if you think I’ve missed a treat, let me know your favourite ghost story in the comments below. (You can also check out my other book lists for Shepherd, the best books with portals for children and young adults, and the best books with nature poems to make you think and feel.)

And while you’re here, why not take a look at my own ghost mystery stories, The Boy in the Burgundy Hood and The Girl in the Ivory Dress – the two standalone novels in The Ghosts of Alice series, about a young women who has a very strange connection to the dead:

Interview by US fantasy writer Jessica Cantwell

I’ve been interviewed by talented US fantasy author Jessica Cantwell on her blog. Here’s her intro, click the link at the bottom of the page for the full interview. (And while I’m here, a quick reminder that both The Boy in the Burgundy Hood and The Girl in the Ivory Dress are on Kindle sale over Halloween – hurry!)

Boy in the Burgundy Hood Halloween sale

Halloween is days away. Now is the perfect time for a ghost story!

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Enter The Boy with the Burgundy Hood, a fantastic book by Steve Griffin. This is an entertaining read with a sprinkle of paranormal activity. If you are a fan of The Haunting of Hill House or The Haunting of Bly Manor, then this is the book for you!

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You can learn more about The Boy in the Burgundy Hood by reading an interview with the author, Steve Griffin, on my blog. Link is in the bio.

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We talk about ghosts and psychopaths. This is a fun interview you won’t want to miss!

Click here to read the full interview!

What I’m writing now… plus a Halloween Sale!

Now that we’re properly into the spooky season, read on for an update on my latest ghost story as well as for details of my Halloween sale.

The Girl in the Ivory Dress Halloween sale

What I’m writing now

I’ve started writing the third Ghosts of Alice story, with a working title of Alice and the Devil. What’s interesting about this story is that I normally start with an outline plot but this time I’m writing as a pantser, as it’s informally known in the trade. Most writers are plotters, but there are a few (including some pretty significant ones) who just start off with a premise and see where it takes them. Stephen King is possibly the most famous of these.

Normally, I work out a clear path from start to finish involving some major ‘set’ scenes. My plot it usually fairly skeletal and I do regularly change things as I progress – but I always have that overarching sense of direction. But this time I’ve got the premise and the scenes but couldn’t fully grasp the ending, so I’ve started writing and am seeing where it leads me. The worry is that I end up in a dead end that takes a huge amount of rewriting. But I have to say it’s going well so far and I’m almost halfway through (I think!). Let’s see what happens…

Ghost of Alice Halloween sale

Both The Boy in the Burgundy Hood and The Girl in the Ivory Dress are reduced from £3.99 / $4.99 to 99p / 99c on Kindle from now until Halloween – over a 75% reduction! Scroll to the end of this post for the link straight to the Amazon page.

The Boy in the Burgundy Hood Halloween sale

Plus… advance warning of The Secret of the Tirthas promo campaign

And another heads up – I’m running a major Kindle promotion of The Secret of the Tirthas around November 11th. The first book in the series, The City of Light, will be free and there will be discounts on one or two of the next books!

I wish you a suitably creepy Halloween – and as ever, thank you for reading!

The Girl in the Ivory Dress is out now!

Big news – my latest novel, The Girl in the Ivory Dress, is out now!

The Girl in the Ivory Dress is out now

I’m so excited about this book. It’s a ghost story for adults and continues the story of Alice Deaton, who we last saw damaged but not destroyed at the end of The Boy in the Burgundy Hood.

Here’s what it’s about:

After a fire tears through the country house where she works, Alice Deaton accepts a desperate invitation from an old friend whose guest house on the Welsh coast is being haunted by a horrifying apparition.

But Alice, with her mysterious ability to connect with ghosts, senses something even stranger going on at the isolated Peacehaven. Who is the spectral man roaming the house? Why is he terrifying the guests? And why does Alice keep dreaming about the ghosts of her past, the burning man and girl in the ivory dress?

As she digs deeper Alice will uncover an insidious evil that might just overwhelm her…

How the book came about:

When I wrote The Boy in the Burgundy Hood I wasn’t planning on any kind of sequel. However, almost as soon as I published it some savvy readers were querying the ending, and dropping hints about how it leant itself to another book. Within days of publication, I was planning a follow on story. The girl in the ivory dress began to play with my head. A few months later, when The Boy in the Burgundy Hood became a bestseller on Amazon, I was sure I was doing the right thing.

However, whilst I wanted the books to be connected, I didn’t want to write another series that you had to read in order. Hence The Ghosts of Alice was born – stand alone ghost stories, linked by our feisty heroine with her mysterious ability to connect with ghosts.

So if you’re interested in a spooky mystery please get yourself (or a friend / family member / ghost story enthusiast you know) a copy from Amazon. And please please if you enjoy it, leave a rating or a review – it really does help the book get noticed.

Thank you and happy reading!

The Girl in the Ivory Dress – cover reveal!

The Girl in the Ivory Dress

I’m very excited to share for the first time the cover of my forthcoming ghost story, The Girl in the Ivory Dress!

It’s the second story featuring Alice Deaton, in a series of standalone novels called The Ghosts of Alice. The book will be released in the next 2-3 weeks.

What do you think?

I got a Bookbub Deal! The Boy in the Burgundy Hood sale

The Boy in the Burgundy Hood ghost story Bookbub sale 21-24 Feb 2021

Read on for a chance to grab The Boy in the Burgundy Hood for 99p/99c in my Bookbub sale…

Well, here we (or at least those of us in the UK) are again in our third national lockdown. To be honest, there are aspects of lockdown that suit me as a writer. It means I lose a long commute to my part-time work in London. Instead of getting on a train in the early morning, I get to take a walk in the local woods, which is good. And of course, being a writer, I enjoy spending time indoors writing books.

But that’s as far as it goes. The homeschooling of two young boys is pushing everyone in my house to the brink. Love ’em as I do, it’s been two months since we all had a break from each other. School may have put everything on Teams – meaning I no longer have to try and explain fronted adverbials – but the technical challenges and juggling of digital resources has added a whole new layer of conflict and frustration.

Anyway *deep breath* that’s enough whingeing from me. I know my challenges are nothing compared to what most people are going through. So over to some lighter stuff…

The Boy in the Burgundy Hood – Bookbub sale!

Need a ‘compelling mystery with a dark twist’ (Amazon, 5⭐) to distract you in lockdown? I landed a ‘Bookbub Deal’ (promotional gold ?) for The Boy in the Burgundy Hood! That means from 21-24 February you can get a copy for 99p / 99c, reduced from £2.99.  Described by US author Sherry Ross as an ‘eerie but beautiful ghost story’, it now has 43 reviews on Amazon UK, averaging 4.4 stars. Click here to grab your copy now:

More Writing News – including my Dad’s memoirs

In other writing news, I’m deep into editing my follow-on ghost story, The Girl in the Ivory Dress, which I plan to have out later in the spring. At the same time I’m writing a prequel novella for The Secret of the Tirthas about Hattie Swift, Lizzie’s witchy ancestor who first discovers the magical garden of portals in Herefordshire.

And finally, in other writing news, my Dad has joined the very small ranks of writers in our family by publishing his fascinating memoirs about the hotel industry. Do check it out by clicking the link below!

Do you believe in Ghosts? A Halloween post

Do you believe in ghosts? We’re well into spooky season now and I was asked the perennial question again recently.

On balance, I’d have to say no. The world is a very strange place, with the chances of it and us existing being essentially zero. Parallel universes, action at a distance, the big bang – all of these things are astonishing. So I keep an open mind about ghosts and everything else. But I also weigh up the odds based on my experience, so I live my life as if they don’t exist.

Do you believe in ghosts? The Boy in the Burgundy Hood ghost pic

But then, there was one time…

I was living in an old Victorian shared house in Scotland, doing a Masters degree at Stirling University. One night I woke up and was convinced there was a woman sitting on the end of my bed, looking at me. I immediately put it down to my imagination and of course when I peered again into the grey dark she wasn’t there.

The next day I told a friend, one of my flat mates, about the incident. He was a bit shaken up. I asked him why, and he told me that the afternoon before he’d been coming up the stairs and seen someone walking across the top of the landing above him, heading towards my bedroom. He was completely nonplussed and just shouted hello to her, thinking it was one of our flatmates. But of course he soon found there was no one there, nor anyone in the whole house for that matter.

So – do you believe in ghosts? If you have any spooky stories to tell I’d love to hear them below.

If that’s whetted your appetite for spooky stories, why not order a copy of my ghost story, The Boy in the Burgundy Hood, in time for Halloween? It’s available now on Amazon. Don’t think I could have hoped for better company on Amazon on the cusp of Halloween…

The Boy in the Burgundy Hood Amazon Bestseller

OUT NOW! The Boy in the Burgundy Hood

I’m excited to announce that The Boy in the Burgundy Hood is out today!

Out now! The Boy in the Burgundy Hood

This is a double first for me – my first ghost story, and my first novel for adults!

Here’s what it’s about:

A ghost story with a difference.

She’s not afraid of ghosts.

Alice Deaton can’t believe her luck when she’s offered her dream job at a medieval English manor house.

Mired in debt, the elderly owners have transferred their beloved Bramley to a heritage trust and Alice must prepare it for public opening in the spring.

But then the ghosts start appearing – the woman with the wounded hand and the boy in the burgundy hood – and Alice realises why her predecessor might have left the isolated house so soon after starting.

As she peels back the layers of the mystery, the secrets Alice uncovers at Bramley’s heart will be dark – darker than she could ever have imagined…

Hope you’re hooked! The story was inspired by a trip to the fabulous, atmospheric Ightham Mote in Kent – and by a real job interview my wife had in a remote country manor, which you can read about here.

A perfectly spooky ghost story for Christmas…

Available now on Amazon: