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Publisher's Summary

Ghosts, ghouls, witches, spectres, demons, the Grim Reaper, vampires, leprechauns, the Devil, as well as a host of other supernatural beings - along with the odd unsolved murder thrown in for good measure – all to be found within the pages of this unique first volume of Tom Slemen's work. Thirty-six stories that will haunt your mind and delight your dark side, all from the pen of one of England's greatest writers on the supernatural – Tom Slemen. Read about the baffling mystery of Old Swan's Mass Grave – was it a cover-up by the authorities? Be thrilled by the creepy history of Springheeled Jack, and dwell morbidly on the nature of the real-life vampires such as Golgon, Araminta and Manilu. Learn about the elusive but deadly enchanting Elvi of Sefton Park, and of the murderess who danced with her hangman at a Victorian ball. Savour the exciting witchcraft wars that centred on the Swan Inn, and unravel the identity of the mastercriminal who killed Julia Wallace in 1931 and left generations of professional and armchair detectives perplexed by his method of slaying without a trace. Just some of the eerie stories to be found in The Best of Tom Slemen – Volume 1.

©2011 Tom Slemen (P)2014 Tom Slemen

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Story

3.5* - Some compelling stories worth listening to

Any additional comments?

Some of the stories in this collection were very compelling, in my opinion. They included: 'Somewhere Only We Know', 'The Devil in the Cavern', 'The Wind From Hell', 'Duke Street's Weeping Widow', 'A Dance With Death', 'Strange Bird of Passage', 'The Waterfront Ghoul', and a few others. I felt that the stories in the second half of the book were generally stronger than the stories in the first half of the book. Short stories aren't my usual cup of tea, so if there are a few stories in a collection that I enjoy, then I have no regrets about investing the time to read/listen to the book. Mission accomplished for this book, then!

On the other hand, some of the stories were frustrating to listen to, usually for one of the following three reasons: First, they weren't what I'd consider to be ghost or paranormal stories. 'Who Killed Julia Wallace' and 'The Man of the Streets' are examples. They're crime stories and doesn't fit into a ghost/paranormal collection. Others sound more like essays (e.g., 'The Summer of the Leprechaun' and 'The Old Swan Mass Grave'), rather than stories because they were so commentary-heavy. These entries weren't necessarily bad, but they didn't fit with the overall theme of the book - my opinion is that they might fit better in a different themed book. The front cover image associated with this audiobook implies (!) that these are ghost-type stories - so my expectation is that I'll be reading spooky stories. I have different mental expectations when I read crime mysteries, so the non-ghost/paranormal stories clashed mentally/emotionally with the rest of the book.

Second, the author seems to be better at setting up stories than concluding them, and for some stories the writing style was almost juvenile ('Marriage Made in Hell' and 'A Picture of Evil' come to mind.). These stories maybe should have been edited more? The tone of the narration didn't help, which leads me to my third point....

Third, the narration didn't really work for me. Sometimes, the narrator spoke so excitedly/ quickly/ enthusiastically/ suspensefully that it disengaged me from the story. Some reviewers here seemed to like the narrator, while others didn't, so I suppose it's a matter of preference. For me, I don't necessarily think a narrator is bad, it's more like the narrator's style doesn't fit the genre or writing style of the book itself (like a 'right person-wrong time' bad romance). My personal opinion is that a narration for ghost paranormal books shouldn't be overly dramatic (unless it's a book meant for youngsters). I enjoy ghost/paranormal stories because of the 'scare jump' factor of some stories (e.g., face suddenly transforms into a demon), or because of the mystery and wonder of encountering something that defies rational explanation, followed by fear or disquiet. I think that maybe some of these stories would have resonated more with me if the narrator had tweaked his style a wee bit and let the words pack the punch rather than the tone of voice. I won't totally blame the narrator, though. Short stories can be challenging for readers like me to emotionally engage with, because there's no time for character or plot development. Some of my favourite audiobooks (see my other reviews here on audible) are ones where I perceive a synergy between the narrator and the author - the words and the voice align with the mental imagery that I'm building in my mind as I listen to an audiobook. For some of the better stories here, I was able to get into that zone. For some of the other stories, not so much.

Anyway, those are my two cents. I provided this review in exchange for a free copy of the audiobook, and I thank the author and the narrator (or whoever) for giving me an opportunity to listen to it free of charge.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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OK Collection of semi-spooky tales

There were quite a number of stories in this collection, some were very good others not so good. The good stories, and there were several; were genuinely creepy and definitely worth listening to. The reason that some stories were not interesting for me, was that they simply were not ghost/horror stories at all and contained no supernatural elements; the stories though were still interesting and well presented.

The narrator did a good job of building suspense and creating the right atmosphere for many of the stories. Overall a good collection of short spooky tales, definitely worth your time if short fiction is your thing.


*This audiobook was provided by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Silly Ghost Story Fun

Any additional comments?

As is often the case with collections such as these, some stories fall a bit flat and some are incredible fun to hear. "The Best of Tom Slemen" is no exception! I'd recommend this collection to readers who enjoy a good ghost story. There's also some interesting background on Liverpool, England in this book, which I found fascinating.

I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator, or publisher.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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I gave this 3.5 stars

I only gave this 3.5 star because some the stories where like a few minutes long, and I didn't find them entertaining. there are a few really good ones, and some creepy ones, but i didn't find any of them scary. there are a ton of stories in this book, most of them 10 plus minutes long.
I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator, or publisher.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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All are NOT ghost stories.

I received a free copy of this audiobook from the author / narrator / publisher in exchange for an unbiased review.

From the cover of the book and the genre classification in Audible, I was expecting a collection of creepy ghost stories. But all the stories in this book are not ghost stories. A good number of them are crime stories, with no supernatural elements. A few of those were good stories by themselves, but they don't fit in this collection. And since I wasn't in a mindset for such stories while listening to this audiobook, I wasn't able to enjoy them. I kept waiting for something ghostly to happen in them and when nothing of that sort happened in those stories, I was left with a "huh.." feeling.

There ARE a few good creepy stories in this book, that genuinely creep you out. But most of the others are not so. Those sound more like targeted to young audience, who get spooked easily. Another aspect that makes me think this book is targeted to young listeners - the overtly dramatic narration. It was like grandpa trying to scare a 10 year old kid on a stormy night. Same dramatic storytelling doesn't spook grownups that easily.

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Paranormal tales of the 1800s

As with all anthologies the stories are either hit or miss. I liked the premise of a lot of them but the story themselves didn’t quite engage me the way I wanted them to. They primarily take place during the 1800's and early 1900's so it doesn’t take much to spook the characters. I wouldn’t call them so much horror but more like a historical account of paranormal happenings. Not sure if they are based on actual events but they play out that way.
Nicholas does a good job narrating this and I enjoyed his voices for the different characters. The one thing I would say about this book with respect to narration is that it was more like someone was telling you a story as if you were sitting around a campfire.
I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator, or publisher.

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amazing creepy tales

I received this book from the narrator of my own frew will foe an honest review.

I really liked the tales, since they were told as it happened to me or to a friend or someone I knew, they made me pretty curious they were well narrated too.

Patrella really immersed me on this one, I liked his voices they were pretty fun and interesting and so accurate with the characters.

a good book of horror tales to pick up.

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  • Story

A mixed bag of spooky stories

I had the advantage of listening to this book the week before and during Halloween, so the mood of seeing all the houses decorated and all the Jack-o-Lanterns lit as I was driving and listening in my car probably added atmosphere to this book that wouldn't have been there on a bright, cheerful day.

One or two things I should mention. First, this book seems to have been written by a British author. I could tell because of certain vocabulary giveaways, like using the word Torch when we Americans use the word Flashlight. And mentioning cities in England such as Liverpool and others were also a dead giveaway.

And I didn't mind that so much, but then it struck me so oddly that for stories that are centered in England, written by a British author, why choose an American narrator?

That being said, this American narrator, Nicholas Patrella, did a heck of a good job with the stories, and I enjoyed his narration. He put the suspense right where it needed to be, and the drama and pauses in all the right places. A good writer and a great storyteller are a rare find. Not all the stories were complete in terms of a start, middle and end, so they left me feeling unsatisfied at times.

This book would be great to listen to at a sleepover for girl scouts, or at a campfire, where anything could creep out of the woods at any time. I'm not saying that the stories were for children, per se, but some had that urban legend sort of flavor, which made them more fun to listen to in my opinion.

I liked that most of the stories were short because if one of them didn't thrill me, another one was right around the corner, and this collection was generous in its length, so it kept me company for a whole week of driving around.

Listen to a sample and see if you like what you hear. I was offered a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review, and I'm thrilled with what I got to listen to. I hope they come out with Volume II soon.

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  • Reg
  • McKinney, TX
  • 04-07-17

Interesting Stories

I couldn't tell whether these stories were meant to be true macabre tales and tales of the supernatural or if they were made up by the author or both. Some were longer, some were shorter, some were about paranormal events, were murder mysteries. Sometimes Slemen would give his hypothesis as to a solution to the mystery and sometimes he didn't. The tales themselves seemed to be older in nature, sometimes seemingly passed down from generation to generation, sometimes as eyewitness accounts to events and even sometimes appearing to be from people the author had spoken to about what happened.

All seemed to have been penned in a rush and not very thoroughly edited. There were those I enjoyed. Such as the mass grave mystery, the witch war at the Swan Inn, the wind from hell, and the mystery of who killed Julia Wallace. Most, however, were just OK for me or didn't seem to make any sense at all.

Nicholas Patrella was very inconsistent in his delivery. Sometimes he spoke very fast and sometimes he spoke so slow it was irritating. In the end, I settled on listening at 1.5x and dealt with the rush of words during the times he spoke fast. I have listened to other book Patrella narrated and this one is not representative of his usually good storytelling.

I received this audiobook for free through Audiobook Boom! in exchange for an honest review.

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  • Marcus
  • SHOEMAKERSVILLE, PA, United States
  • 02-21-17

Would be better edited down to the actual "best"

From the moment I heard the narrator spend minutes rattling off the loooong table of contents of this book, I was worried. I think I was right to be.

This collection features more stories than I can remember, but the ones that bear rememberance were few and far between. Most of the "stories" are anecdotes read as if from a newspaper clipping. They tend not to be very interesting, beleivable and usually have no real resolution or make much sense at all.

There are, however, a few tales mixed in that are genuinely interesting, thought-provoking and/or creepy. Those carried the book for me.

As for the narrator, he did a fine job, but it would seem the editing was poor. There were many times where there were odd gaps in the audio (including during the insufferable table of contents) that distracted you from the tale (or woke you up :P ). The narrator also tried harder than the author did to make the tales extra spooky, so he ended up sounding as if he were telling a tale to kids by campfire or under a blanket with a flashlight.

Honestly, if this book were pared down to the stronger tales that were actual stories, this could have easily been 4, maybe 4.5 stars. As it stands, the hours of mundane anecdotes makes this an easy pass.

I was provided this book free of charge in exchange for my honest review.

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  • Wonderland
  • 07-17-17

Great creepy stories, awful narration

What did you like best about The Best of Tom Slemen? What did you like least?

Tom's books are always well written, creepy and an excellent read especially if you are from the Merseyside area.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Mr Bill is a terrifying story .... but there are so many creepy characters in this book

Would you be willing to try another one of Nicholas Patrella’s performances?

No, not reading this sort of book. I wish the reader hadn't attempted to put on the worse scouse accent I have ever heard in my life. You can hardly understand what he says as it is a poor mix of American and Irish. Would have been better read just in his normal American accent if needs be but why didn't they get someone with a local accent to read it ... would have seemed much more authentic.