Every state – and country – seems to have its share of ghost stories and other spooky tales. And why not, when strange and creepy sites and legends appeal to both children and adults? Here are three options if you're in the mood for something spooky: short stories for all ages, a novel for children, and a novel for adults.
Spooky Southwest: Tales Of Hauntings, Strange Happenings, And Other Local Lore
S. E. E. Schlosser, illustrated by Paul Hoffman
Paperback: 200 pages, $13
Publisher: Globe Pequot Press; 1st edition (September 1, 2004)
The book opens with a map of the locations of the 30 stories. They take place in Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. (For the record, Texas is apparently the spookiest Southwestern state, with New Mexico second.)
The stories introduce some famous characters, such as Pecos Bill and La Lorona, the Weeping Woman. They also introduce Southwestern types such as miners and cattle rustlers. These tales are retold in the first person, as if they happened to the narrator. Yet they are definitely in the folktale or even tall tale style rather than reading as “real.”
Some stories are tragic or even gruesome, while others are more like extended jokes. You might want to review a story in advance before reading it to younger children, but there should be something for everyone.
S. E. E. Thlosser also has a Spooky Texas book, Spooky South, and Spooky Campfire Stories.
The Ghost Miner’s Treasure: Haunted Book 4
150 pages, $8.99 paperback, $2.99 Kindle
In the Haunted series for ages 9 to 12, thirteen-year-old Jon and his eleven-year-old sister, Tania, are typical kids – except for the fact that Tania can communicate with ghosts. Their mom and stepdad are producers of a ghost-hunter reality television show, but they don’t know about Tania’s gift – and Tania wants to keep it that way.
The series starts with The Ghost on the Stairs, where the kids investigate a century-old ghost story in a Colorado hotel. The Riverboat Phantom takes the kids on to an antique riverboat, while The Knight in the Shadows is set in New York City and involves a ghost lurking in a museum. In terms of the Southwest, book 4, The Ghost Miner’s Treasure, has the most detailed and dramatic setting. (The books can be read individually or in any order, although there are some elements that carry through the series.)
In The Ghost Miner’s Treasur, Jon and Tania travel with the ghost hunter TV show to the Superstition Mountains of Arizona, where the ghost of an old miner is still looking for his lost mine. The siblings want to help him move on – but to help him resolve the problem keeping him here, they’ll have to find the mine. And even then, the old ghost may be having too much fun to leave! It’s a good thing Tania can see and talk to him, because the kids will need his help to survive the rigors of a mule train through the desert, a flash flood, and a suspicious treasure hunter who wants the gold mine for himself.
218 pages, $9.99 paperback, $3.99 Kindle or Nook
It all begins with whispers in the night…. Kylie Hafford craves adventure during her southwestern summer. She doesn’t expect to fight for her life.
After an assault in Boston, young archeologist Kylie heads to the remote Puebloan ruins of Lost Valley, Colorado, to excavate. She plans to avoid all men and figure out her next step in life. Her first exploration of the crumbling ruins ends in a confrontation with a gorgeous, angry man who looks like a warrior from the Pueblo’s ancient past. Danesh proves that Kylie’s body is ready for love, even if her heart isn’t. If only he weren’t so aggravating… and fascinating. Then she literally stumbles across Sean, a charming, playful tourist. His attentions feel safer, until she glimpses secrets he’d rather keep hidden.
The summer heats up as two sexy men pursue her. She finds mysteries – and surprising friendships – among the other campground residents. Could the wide-eyed woman and her silent children be in the kind of danger all too familiar to Kylie?
Mysterious lights, murmuring voices, and equipment gone missing plague her dig. Kylie tries to play it safe, but when someone threatens her research, she must take action. Kylie throws aside caution, but is shocked as friends turn to foes. She has more enemies than she can possibly guess, and she’s only begun to glimpse the terrors in the dark. A midnight encounter sends her plummeting into a deep canyon. She’ll need all her strength and wits to survive. Everything becomes clear – if she wants to save the man she’s come to love and see the villains brought to justice, she can’t run away again – she must face her demons and fight.
Whispers in the Dark is action-packed romantic suspense set in the Four Corners region of the Southwest.