REVIEW: “Episode 14” by Shannon Ryan

Review of Shannon Ryan, “Episode 14”, in Abandoned Places, edited by George R. Galuschak and Chris Cornell (Shohola Press, 2018): 131-145 — Purchase here. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman. (Read the review of the anthology.)

This story takes the central conceit of the anthology and runs with it from the very start: A group of Minnesota teenagers take a car and a cameraman and go off to film — not ghosts, but abandoned places. This is not a ghost story and these are not ghost hunters: “We’re not going to run around screaming like girls and taking our shirts off” (p. 131).

This is not the first time they’ve done this. In fact, they’re up now to their 14th episode, and their goal is an abandoned recycling plant that closed up shop quite suddenly a few years ago. It is dark of night when they reach the deserted building, but inside there is a noise.

Of course it’s not a ghost, because this isn’t a ghost story. And it certainly couldn’t be the giant rooster it sounds to be…

This story was a perfect treasure hunt of clues; I was pretty sure I’d figured out where it was going about half-way through, but there was just enough uncertainty that it was resoundingly satisfying when my hunch was confirmed.