Sunday, September 4, 2016
Photo: The hardcover's cover
This one's a bit of a downer at the end, but you won't be surprised at the conclusion. It didn't really have any other place to go. The main character is a guy who creates movie scores, who gets told that a movie in production, Star Wars, is a sure bomb and not one he wants to score. (That was a rare amusing moment in this book.) Anyway, he's fallen on hard times in a Victorian home, and when he suddenly gets voices (some sinister) on his tape, he sees it as a cash cow--voices from the dead as part of a movie score! That either sits okay with you, or it doesn't, and that will mandate how much of this book you can take.
It's written well enough, by Frank Tallis, better known for his Liebermann Papers books, which take place in Freud's Vienna of 1902 or so. This one takes place in the 1970s in England, where Tallis actually lives. The atmosphere is okay, and the creeps are okay, though you may need a little imagination to get the full effect.
It's better than the film White Noise, which was really terrible, actually. Parts of it also reminded me a little of The Shining (which was better than this book), especially when Jack Torrance accuses his wife of being hysterical and purposely trying to ruin his creative career. Also similar is that it all takes place in a house that is obviously haunted, and obviously a danger to everyone, especially the child. Unlike The Shining, this one ends, well...I won't spoil it, I guess. But if you rejoiced when Danny lived in The Shining, you'll be disappointed here. Consider yourself warned.
That's my biggest problem with this book, and it's not really Tallis's fault, I guess. But I was also watching the latest (and worst) Paranormal film last night, and they both had the same huge problem: Freekin' stupid and careless parents who ignore the obvious danger to their child because of their own ignorance and selfishness. The film was so bad that I wanted to openly strike the stupid, self-centered, self-obsessed parents, and I almost felt as strongly with the parents in this book: the husband selfishly put everyone in obvious danger, especially his infant. And the wife was too weak and self-obsessed to pick up the daughter and get the hell out of there.
As I said, the latest Paranormal movie was much worse, and even included a priest who said that 6 a.m. on June 6th was an obvious 666 mark of Satan (6th hour of the 6th day of the 6th month--Get it?!?), which is possibly the worst writing I've ever seen in any movie of any kind, ever, and an insult to priests everywhere. (Your avergae priest knows that the 666 of Revelations is an obscure symbology that certainly doesn't mean anything like this movie says, especially since a completely different calendar was used by the writer, era and part of the world of The New Testament's origins.) And I'd already harbored extreme ill-resentment towards the parents in this movie.
Anyway, this book's parents are more realistically drawn, but still came under my ire. And the ending...Well, I saw it coming, and you probably will too, so it didn't effect me as much as it could have. If you can handle that kind of an ending--and there's no judgment on my part if you can't, but this ending represents the tragedy of human self-centeredness and weakness, see?--then this will be an effectively creepy book for you. If you can't, if headlines of that sort bother you too much, then that's certainly understandable and you should skip this.