The Crystal Ball and Other Supernatural Stories

By: Fiona Roberts

What do a talking dog, chattering teeth and an evil crystal ball all have in common?  Give up?  They are all part of a collection of supernatural tales which will tingle your senses and curl your toes.  Written by author Fiona Roberts, The Crystal Ball and Other Supernatural Stories can transform even the most skeptical individual into a believer of the hereafter and unexplained.

The book is presented as a collection of short stories which have been woven together into one book.  There are five tales in total, with the first and last entries being the longest.  We have a ghostly love story to begin the book, and finish it with quite the opposite.  There is also a very unusual entry about possessed teeth, and a heartwarming…yet eerie… tale about canine love.  Perhaps my favorite however is “Yew Tree Lane” which pits two servants of the Lord  at odds with one another.  It takes bickering to a whole new level and much higher plane!

If you are looking for blood and gore, this is not the anthology for you.  Nevertheless, the author very capably manages to build up suspense and tension in her tales in a subtle yet powerful way.  There is a distinctly creepy and frightening flavour to each story which will leave the reader thinking and wanting more. What remains is the suspicion that the author has much more to tell.  Interesting and intriguing to say the least!

The characters contained in the various stories are quite well developed and believable.  This in turn lets them support the unfolding story events perfectly.  For instance, the Brigadier as a highly disciplined and deliberate individual acts in perfect juxtaposition to the chaotic events which unfold.  Likewise, in the short story “The Crystal Ball”, Jonathon’s fastidious and introverted nature is built up in such a way that his eventual dilemma is both realistic and impactful.

The author has a very nice writing flow which slowly builds up suspense and tension without giving too much away.  The reader has to think and carefully consider events while reading and thus make their own inferences and conclusions.  Nothing is simply spelled out.  This in turn gives the variety of stories a genuine and authentic feel to them.

Overall, I quite enjoyed reading most of the stories in this collection.  I was not a huge fan of a few… but there is no doubting the author’s writing prowess.  She is a very capable storyteller.

3.5 out of 5 Ghostly Stars for this one!     ***