Readers of all generations relish ghost stories. Whether it’s Henry James’ deeply disturbing The Turn of the Screw or Stephen King’s harrowing The Shining, the menacing spirits floating through these tales remain indelible. And in the case of James’ novella, the specters spark a crucial question: Are they real or imagined? Kirkus Indie recently reviewed three novels with supernatural themes.

In Brian Corley’s Ghost Bully, a phantom tells Jonah Peterson and his roommate to leave their Texas home. When they refuse, Jonah ends up dead and must learn to navigate the afterlife. He eventually meets a team of paranormal investigators and attracts the attention of demons. Our reviewer calls the book “an absurdly humorous” tale whose “enthusiasm and profundity make it truly exceptional.”

The Ghost Tracks Erasmo Cruz, a recent college graduate, becomes a paranormal consultant in The Ghost Tracks by Celso Hurtado. Cruz’s credentials? Apparitions connected to a Texas legend supposedly saved his life. He tries to help three clients, including a man named Leander Castillo, who claims he’s being stalked by the spirit of a female murder victim. To complicate matters, police suspect that Leander killed her. “A downbeat but indelible story that slowly sinks its teeth in and doesn’t let go,” our critic writes.

Set in Louisiana, Forgotten Men focuses on the 200-year-old Asylum, a former maximum security penitentiary and the state’s “most haunted building.” Bill Thompson’s suspense sequel stars Landry Drake, a deputy sheriff, who starts looking into the 13 unsolved murders that happened there in the last three decades. Locals have heard voices in the Asylum. But do they belong to ghouls or the two prison escapees now hiding there? According to our reviewer, the “exceptional story…derives its frights from both supernatural and corporeal aspects.” Myra Forsberg is an Indie editor.