The Haunting of Velkwood

S. & S. Audio. Mar. 2024. 7:37 hrs. ISBN 9781797170831. $17.99. HORROR
Kiste’s (Reluctant Immortals) reimagining of the modern ghost story is also an exploration of how trauma can literally haunt someone. The Velkwood Vicinity is one of the nation’s strangest supernatural phenomena: an entire street and its houses have disappeared into a realm outside reality. As a former resident and one of the only people who can enter the veil surrounding the neighborhood, Talitha Velkwood is recruited by a paranormal research team to help them explore the Vicinity. Soon, however, Talitha discovers that something within the Vicinity wants her back, and it is hungry. The story goes through the prerequisite haunting plot points, including an explosive final confrontation, but Kiste evokes a spooky atmosphere through her descriptions while also using this haunted section of suburbia to explore how traumas hidden beneath wood-paneled veneers lie dormant until they are confronted. Narrator Jennifer Pickens adds pathos as she portrays Talitha’s gradually worsening torment as the Vicinity attempts to suck her back into its influence.
VERDICT An intriguing ghost story, perfect for fans of both bombastic hauntings, like Richard Matheson’s Hell House, and more cerebral hauntings, like Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House.
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