I am continuously impressed by those authors who can still write a chilling ghost story. Granted, in today’s world, it’s hard to scare the mainstream public. We, as a society, have become so desensitized to almost everything that ghost stories seem almost comical in some aspects. But there are still those writers out there who can make us pause at the thought of ghosts, who can make a shiver trickle down our spines when we are alone in a dark room. I’m proud to state Ronald Malfi is one of those select few. With LITTLE GIRLS, Malfi weaves a spellbinding tale of inner demons and childhood fears. This is a first-rate ghost story every horror fan should own!
If you are not familiar with LITTLE GIRLS, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Kensington Books:
From Bram Stoker Award nominee Ronald Malfi comes a brilliantly chilling novel of childhood revisited, memories resurrected, and fears reborn…
When Laurie was a little girl, she was forbidden to enter the room at the top of the stairs. It was one of many rules imposed by her cold, distant father. Now, in a final act of desperation, her father has exorcised his demons. But when Laurie returns to claim the estate with her husband and ten-year-old daughter, it’s as if the past refuses to die. She feels it lurking in the broken moldings, sees it staring from an empty picture frame, hears it laughing in the moldy greenhouse deep in the woods…
At first, Laurie thinks she’s imagining things. But when she meets her daughter’s new playmate, Abigail, she can’t help but notice her uncanny resemblance to another little girl who used to live next door. Who died next door. With each passing day, Laurie’s uneasiness grows stronger, her thoughts more disturbing. Like her father, is she slowly losing her mind? Or is something truly unspeakable happening to those sweet little girls?
This book sucked me in from the opening pages, and it never let me go. Stories that can do this are true gems for me, as many of the books I look through these days appear to be just fluff. As such, I rate this book very highly, and I will put Ronald Malfi on my list of authors to watch out for.
LITTLE GIRLS is written well and flows at a nice, steady pace. Malfi shows mastery of the written word with a flourishing style that shows much and does not skimp on the details. I love the way he uses descriptives; they are powerful and subtle, but also unique and interesting. For example, on the opening page:
“Tall and gaunt, he had a face like a withered apple core and wore a long black overcoat that looked incongruous in the stirrings of an early summer.”
In this example, Malfi conveys a lot in a single sentence and leaves the reader with a vivid mental image of the old man.
The characters in LITTLE GIRLS are damaged and believable. Each is fleshed out well and leaves an impressionable mark on the reader that carries through the book until the end. I found myself well-vested with each, and I was genuinely concerned with what was happening to them.
The story in LITTLE GIRLS is the real winner, though. This modern-day ghost story will make you sweat and bite your fingernails as you tear through it. I will not divulge anything about the story because I do not want to give anything away, but I will admit it has a twist at the end I did not see coming.
LITTLE GIRLS is a major win for me, and I highly recommend it. Filled with terrifying imagery and horrific scenarios, this is one tale you won’t soon forget after the last page. The book is available now in a variety of formats, so take a look.