Goblin by Josh Malerman is a collection of 6 novellas all featured in the town of Goblin. The town of Goblin is a little different with police that look and sound the same, the dead are buried standing up, and a witch live in the forbidden North woods. The stories are interesting and barely intertwined for it being in the same town. The most interesting things the police, the dead buried standing up, and the witch, are barely explored. The book focuses on the history of the town which is just okay but not nearly as interesting as the other things I had mentioned. The novellas are okay, there was only one really good one, one really predictable and the rest fall into the good category. I wanted the stories to come together more. The writing does some clever things but the pacing, and focus on the history of the town will try the patience of the reader. This is my 3 Josh Malerman book, I loved Bird Box and A House at the Bottom of the Lake, and I had the same problem with Inspection that I did with Goblin, pacing and focusing on the wrong things that make the story interesting. I think Malerman is still great at thinking outside of the box and creating good story ideas, the execution of those ideas doesn’t always land for me. Thanks to Netgally and Del Rey publishing for giving me this ARC. Goblin is published on May 18th 2021.
The Plots and Rankings:
The Prelude: which is a story a bout a man from another town having to deliver a package to Goblin, with a very specific instructions, if you hear any noise don’t stop, if you fail to deliver at the exact time destroy package. The driver doesn’t follow all the orders, a good introduction to a creepy town of Goblin 4 out of 5
Man in Slices is about a guys creepy best friend, who gets a creepy girlfriend who wants him to show love like Vincent Van Gough, by cutting off body parts. Friendship is put to its limits. The story was okay but the twist ending was really rushed, I gave this story 4 out of 5 stars.
Kamp is a story of a man that fears a haunting so bad he knows it will kill him. His whole family has been haunted, and he’s the last one left. I liked the bits about the history of Goblin the town. The story itself was not all that interesting and I knew how it was going to end. I did like the art work, that seems right out of Tales from the Crypt. I rate Kamp 2 out of 5 stars.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, HUNTER! was a good story about a hunter’s birthday party. The greatest Hunter in Goblin wants to hunt what hasn’t been hunted before a great owl, who lives in the forest that is forbidden. The ending was a great one filled with irony. the history of the owls and how they came to Goblin was interesting. I rated it 4 out of 5 stars.
Presto is about a magician that can do the impossible, move object with his mind. is it a trick or something more. I liked this story the most so far. really interesting backstory and intriguing present day story. The ending twist was pretty good. This story had the best flow and was always interesting. I rated it 5 out of 5
A Mix-up at the Zoo is exactly like the title a lonely man works at the Zoo which he loves and at a slaughter house, you can’t blame him if he gets mix -up from time to time. This story had the most potential, but the pace was sometimes to slow. The dreams which were interesting overstayed there welcome and lasted too long. The ending you see coming, but it was good. I rated it 4 out of 5
Te Hedges is about a big hedge maze that can not be beat, only until a young 8 year old solves what is at the center of the maze, and is horrified by her findings. She confronts the maze maker this heads to the police. I liked parts of this story a lot, the thing the little girl was horrified at was pretty lame, which was a bummer, because I was all about this story until that point. This story has the best pacing but really failed to deliver on the mystery. I rated The Hedges 4 out of 5.
What I Liked: Presto is my favorite story hands down it has a mystery that leads to the hype, and has a killer ending as well. The Hedges made you feel every dizzying turn in the maze with the little girl until she reaches the center. The Mix Up at the Zoo was probably the scariest because you see it coming, and you fear for what is going to happen when the mix up happens. The Idea for the Man in Slices is my favorite, that story had the most potential. Happy Birthday Hunter had the better ending, it wasn’t flashy but I thought it worked on a psychological level.
What I Disliked: I wanted to see a lot more connectivity in stories. I thought the town could have been a lot creepier. I fell like the police and the buried standing up are the most interesting things and they are not explored at all. the pacing could have been better in a lot of these stories.
Recommendation: I’m barely going to recommend this collection, Presto is the highlight, read that story before you give up. I’ve seen real mixed reviews and mine is pretty mixed as well, there’s good and there’s bad i this collection I feel the good out weighs the bad. If you don’t like the novellas you do have to admit that the stories are really clever. I rated Goblin by Josh Malerman 3 out of 5. I struggled on the rating more of a 3.5 than a 3, when I am so torn I rate it lower on Goodreads then higher on Amazon splitting the difference. I will continue to read Josh Malerman and will read Malorie the sequel to Bird Box next.