Sometimes the past bleeds into the present.
One of the things I enjoy the most about ghost stories is exploring what it was that caused the deceased to become trapped between this life and the next one. After all, most people don’t stick around to haunt the places they knew well when they were alive! It’s hard to discuss Leah’s reasons for haunting her old home without wandering into spoiler territory, but I was deeply satisfied with how that part of her past was explained. It worked well for her personality and history.
It would have been nice to see more of a difference between Melanie and Leah’s use of the English language. Despite growing up and living hundreds of years apart, their vocabularies and speaking styles were incredibly similar. I was a little confused about why this might be the case and briefly wondered if it was a clue of some sort or if their voices should have been more distinct.
Blending so many different genres into one short tale isn’t an easy task, but Ms. Torry did a good job mixing them all together. The romantic and science fiction elements were slightly stronger than the mystery ones. It wouldn’t have been the same without all three of them, though, so this is something that I think will appeal to anyone who enjoys any or all of them.
I’d recommend To Have or To Haunt to anyone who is interested in dipping their toes into a new genre. It covers so many of them that it’s an easy place to try something new.
Editor's note: This article was originally published at Long and Short Reviews. It has been republished with permission. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.