Sunday, October 8, 2017
The Silence of Ghosts by Jonathan Aycliffe
Synopsis From Back Cover:
Dominic Lancaster hoped to prove himself to his family by excelling in the Navy during World War II. Instead he is wounded while serving as a gunner and loses his leg. Still recovering from his wounds and the trauma of his amputation when the Blitz begins, Dominic finds himself shuffled off to the countrysideend by his family, along with his partially deaf sister, Octavia. The crumbling family estate on the shores of Ullswater is an old, much-neglected place that doesn't seem to promise much in the way of happiness or recovery.
Something more than a friendship begins to flourish between Dominic and his nurse, Rose, in the late autumn of that English countryside, as he struggles to come to terms with his new life as an amputee. Another thing that seems to be flourishing is Octavia's hearing.
As winter descends, sinister forces seem to be materializing around Octavia, who is hearing voices of children. After seeing things that no one else can see and hearing things that no one else can hear, Octavia is afflicted with a sickness that cannot be explained. With Rose's help, Dominic sets out to find the truth behind the voices that have haunted his sister. In doing so, he uncovers an even older, darker evil that threatens not only Octavia but also Rose and himself.
There is something about this time of year that has me craving a good ghost story. Halloween merchandise is lining the store shelves, the serious decorators have already started on their homes, scary movies become habitual viewing, and my reading tastes get darker. Don't get me wrong, I love a good scare anytime of the year, but this is when I want to wallow in them.
Haunted house stories are my weakness, and I can rarely pass one up. Of my favorite books of all time, at least four of them feature a house I would do anything to visit in real life. I'm not sure how I stumbled across this one, but I'm damn glad I did.
Atmosphere is the key to a well crafted ghost story, and boy did this have a suffocating aura permeating the pages. It enfolds the reader, wrapping them in dread. It crawls in through the readers eyes, burrowing its way into brain tissue. As a reader, I found myself unable to put the book down, because I did not want Dominic, Rose, and Octavia to fade away, lost amongst the depair.
Despite a postscripted ending that I could have done without, and not fully sure I truly understood, if this is typical of Mr. Aycliffe's work, I can't wait to wallow around with him some more. Now, I just need the weather man to get with the program.