When you pick up this book, do not expect a cheap fright, a chill down your spine from a gory image, nor an imaginary tap on the shoulder from icy fingers. Just do not expect it. But just in case I am not clear enough, this is not your usual kick-in-the-pants weekend afternoon entertainment. This collection shifts pace, style, and tongue for the sole purpose of finding an angel that will terrify you.
As a collective, “Toward The 20th Ghost” is not as hard to categorize as promoted; but rather its unusual scenery and events set it apart from your usual peekaboo horror stories, unify its 20 visions under a state of dark and unsettling mood that leave you with anything but ease and comfort. The visions included within this collection give the word “haunting” a new meaning, with no credit to the supernatural elements of the stories; the disturbing ideas, motiveless causalities, and away-from-rainbow endings will definitely wander about your head for years to come.
As far as short stories go, Khalifa's visions are just without inhibitions nor filters; might be shocking for some, revealing for others, unbearable for most, but most certainly they unfold without restraints nor reserves. I enjoyed reading these stories, simply because they are not bounded by “normal” moral dilemmas nor “expected” righteousness, and it is rare that I come across such a thing, that is free and clear from all projections that satisfy hidden agendas or preachy messages. The only thing left to mention here is my favorite one of these 20 stories – and for a very known reason for me – “Ink” took that place in my heart.
(review of free book)