Annie Wilder, editor,
Trucker Ghost Stories
(Tor, 2012)

Annie Wilder loves a good ghost story. She's not really particular; it can be a classic ghost sighting, a UFO abduction, a parallel universe -- as long as it features an encounter with the supernatural and, in this book, a motor vehicle (she prefers 18-wheel long-haul trucks but will accept pickups and cars) she is delighted.

As I read this collection of stories, for the most part, I was delighted, too. After all, who can resist first-hand experiences with the unknown, narrated by the people to whom they happened? In these pages, we hear about an assault by an unseen force on a truck in a rest stop with no one else around. The driver, wakened by a huge wind that was blowing his 18-wheeler around, a wind that later came from within his truck, believes he was attacked by a demon who was only driven off by his Bible and a VHS tape of The Passion of the Christ.

Deserted rest stops seem particularly conducive to strange happenings; another trucker heard and felt a huge presence walking around on top of his truck but could not see anything when he checked it out. In another story, a group of kids, out joyriding, encounter ghosts when they rip off a wooden cross from a cemetery.

Are the stories true? Since no documentation is offered, I have no idea. The editor and the writers assure us they are and, if they are to be believed, many of the people these events happened to are still suffering consequences.

As casual readers, our job is not to verify these stories but to enjoy them and be just a little bit mystified by them. On that level the book succeeds; it is a lot of fun.

book review by
Michael Scott Cain

10 November 2012

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