This reviewer had high hopes for The Soft Whisper of the Dead. Unfortunately, few of those were realized. Other reviewers had written glowingly of its stylistic excellence, and indeed it is a highly atmospheric story in which the author successfully conjures the feeling of a classic Universal or Hammer thriller from the past. The writer, Charles L. Grant, is widely regarded as one of the best dark fantasists of the past several decades, and his fondness for those great films comes through in the imagery he imbues his novel with and the characters he populates it with. Grant is also wise in keeping the plot on a tight leash--unlike many horror novels, it is about the right length, and not a massive 300+ page literary doorstop. Beyond all these stylistic attributes however, the novel disappoints in terms of satisfying storytelling. The book is eerie, but many situations are underdeveloped and fall short of maximum impact. Despite Grant's reputation, a number of sentences are poorly written and sometimes entire parapraphs are murkier than the fog that infests the fictional town of of Oxrun Station. As for the end, it isn't there. Following a weak climax, the book comes to a close with an ambiguous final sequence that is more typical of a bad modern horror film than the classics Grant supposedly modelled his tale upon. Rich atmosphere keeps this one afloat, but can't save the overall reading experience from being a great disappointment. For a superior treatment of a similar story, check out Son of Dracula, a classic horror film from the Universal vault.