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Three Winter Ghosts Paperback – 7 Oct 2013

3.6 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (7 Oct. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1492931330
  • ISBN-13: 978-1492931331
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 0.9 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 332,105 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Gary Sargent was born in Essex and educated at the universities of Wales and Oxford. He lives with his wife and daughter just outside the city of Oxford, UK. Though he has lived there for over twenty years, he does not think that he has met a ghost in the aging city, but sometimes it’s difficult to tell. He is also the author of The Ofsted Murders, and can be contacted at grsar77@yahoo.co.uk.


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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By I. R. Kerr TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 15 Jan. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
To be honest it took me a while to get into this book, odd as it is only 137 pages but I'm glad I stuck with it.
The start is reminiscent of M R James with an Oxford lecturer telling his largely disbelieving audience about the sad decline of the ghost story as technology has largely taken the mystery element away, however he tells them of his experience with a ghost in Chile and the fatal impact it had on his later life.
This brief part did not really grab me but it's mainly setting the scene for the main act.
When he dies two of his mocking colleagues find that there was more than an element of truth to the old man's tale and when the old man dies and the cold winter nights draw in they slowly start to experience the terror he described as something largely unseen is after them and as in most good ghost stories there is a real sense of hopelessness and foreboding.
It's nicely creepy with an extra twist or two at the end and just the sort of tale to read on a cold winter night.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I wanted so much to like this book and for a while I did. In fact, I more than liked it for the first third. It very definitely did have the M. R. James feel and I became quite excited at having discovered a new author I could trust! I suppose that sounds a bit extreme but I think some will understand what I mean.

It is very well written: in terms of prose style I can’t fault it. However, once the superbly written set up is over the implications aren’t, unfortunately, handled with as much assurance. I never felt fully convinced by the protagonists growing sense of terror and, as some other reviewers have said, all in all, he and the other characters in the story seem rather half hearted in terms of emotional depth and this makes it more difficult to empathize with them.

Another problem is that it doesn’t really know what type of story it wants to be: we start off in good ghost story territory; Oxford dons, Gothic architecture and Christmas in the offing; only for it to veer off towards the end into bog standard serial killer country!

The novelette also has echoes of another modern ‘Jamesian’ story; ‘The Matrix’, by Jonathan Aycliffe in which, although of novel length, the author manages to gradually build and then maintain a truly unsettling undercurrent of dread. By comparison Three Winter Ghosts does suffer, but I hope Sargent perseveres because I think there may be true talent there!
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The best thing about this book is the exceptional ability to create atmosphere. I read it on a damp, cold, foggy November day and realised I had chosen the perfect time to read it. The tale begins traditionally, with a group of Oxford academics gathered in the common room talking about ghost stories. Eventually, one of the party tells one of his own. Here, the author endeavours to follow in the traditions of M R James or Susan Hill and, with his evocation of imagery and the building of a sense of menace, largely succeeds. The sensation of unease and fear creeps up, gathers momentum and everything is cold, cold, cold. I felt colder and colder reading the book. So why two stars? I just didn’t like the hauntings and I really did not like the ending. Our narrator Jack tells us something about himself, but not very much, so we don’t really get to know him. At the beginning of the book, Morris Noble talks about an incident from his past in the 1970s that drives the story, but why was he haunted? I am not sure what he had done that was so terribly wrong to deserve it. The same with Peter Jardine; I thought the punishment outweighed the crime, which after all was only taking the mickey, wasn’t it? As with many of Susan Hill’s tales, this story had spiteful ghosts haunting relatively innocent people and for me this type of ghost story just doesn’t work as I don’t see the point.

Throughout Jack’s narrative, we are also unsure whether he is really being haunted or if he is going mad; a tactic employed by James and which has been used in The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters, which I recently read. The story is kept moving, but in some places lacks depth, in others the descriptions are very effective.

The ending was very confused and abrupt.
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It has been a long time since I visited this type of genre but this has definitely wetted my appetite for more. Great ghost story and you quickly get to know the main characters. Nice creepy build up to a somewhat abrupt and unexpected end - which did leave me wanting more. However, at 148 pages, there is only so much scope.
So, not a huge read but enough to see you over 2 - 3 nights if, like me, you only read in bed. Will definitely read more by this author.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The overriding emotion all through this story is fear and I think this proved a problem for me. By the time I reached the last page I felt desensitised and the ending didn't deliver the required impact. If the story had contained other strong human emotions, such as love and empathy, they would have acted as a sharp contrast. I found Jack's life very mundane. When he moved in with his girlfriend, Ruth, he says, "I really like this girl." And later on Ruth says to him, "I like you, Jack." Even his parents and sister show very little concern over him. All very insipid. Jack turned out to be the proverbial victim, making no effort to fight back and overcome the haunting. Had his life sparkled with love and support from those around him then the haunting by a creature who means him harm, would have been sharpened and more horrifying. As it was, I didn't think he had a lot to live for in the first place.
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