Suburban Legends: True Tales
of Murder, Mayhem, and Minivans
(2013 eBook Edition)

17736997Author: Sam Stall
Release Date: October 1, 2013
Publisher: Quirk Books
Source: Quirk Books via Edelweiss
Genre(s): Horror, Thriller, True Crime

Rating: ★★★☆☆
Review Spoilers:  N/A
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When I first got this copy of Suburban Legends I thought I was going to blaze right through it. As a kid I loved these sorts of story compilations. There’s nothing better than a creepy story that happens to be true. Or, at least, one that happens to live on in local lore forever to the point that it almost becomes true.  Ghost stories, alien abductions, stories of crazy or murderous neighbors… It’s great. It’s even better when set against the back drop of something as plain as suburbia.

But I did not just jump right in and speed read my way through this book. I took some time to really enjoy it. Instead of reading it on my Kindle like I do most books I sent it to my iPad where  I browsed through the book leisurely – usually during class. It’s a perfect book to read during class because the stories are generally fairly short, quickly, easy, and super interesting.

Not that I condone reading non-class related works during class! (Oh, who am I kidding? Of course I do.)

I actually recommend reading this book in short portions. The stories are short but I think that reading it a section at a time at most lets you appreciate them better. If you just blaze through them all I think you’ll probably just get bogged down in the number of stories and how they often flow one after another. Pacing yourself means you can actually slow down, read each story, and get the full effect. I suppose that’s probably true for most books but I think it really matters with a book like this. It’s a great bedtime read for those among us who like some of the creepier stories. Not that any of these are likely to make it hard for you to sleep. They may, however, make you rethink what exactly that was you saw out of the corner of your eye, though.

The book is broken up into seven themed sections focusing on a different sort of suburban tale. Only a few of these would really be considered ‘legends’ of any sort. One of the more classic and true urban legends is the story of a small subdivision with a supposedly haunted railway crossing. The story goes that a school bus was trapped on the tracks and several elementary school children were killed in the accident. The names of the streets in the neighborhood were then all taken from the names of the victims. In the present the legend goes that if teenagers leave their cars parked on that very railway crossing ghostly hand prints will appear on the car’s trunk as it’s pushed off the tracks to safety by the long dead children…

Kinda spooky, right? There are tons of great stories in here. Not all of them are about ghosts, though. Some of them break into the realm of true crime and involve crazed wives going after their cheating or abusive husbands, the haunting scene found under John Wayne Gacy’s house, and creepy crawly creatures hellbent on overrunning a suburban family’s home. But if you’re into the ghost stories don’t worry. There are plenty of those, too. And it appears that the book may have been at least slightly updated since it’s original print run in 2006. There were a few stories dated 2009, I think, but don’t quote me on that.

Either way, there’s plenty of creepy stories to around in this awesome compilation of stories from across the country.

Final Thoughts: 
Suburban Legends is a great book for someone looking for a quick read and a lot of fun. Sure, the stories are a little short but it doesn’t really distract from them at all. It says a lot when you can creep someone out in just a few words. If you’re a sucker for a good ghost story and loved all those scary story books in elementary school then this is the grown up version you didn’t know you’ve been waiting for!

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