Thursday, 18 December 2014

Advent day 18: F R Tallis


2014 was a little short on horror for me, perhaps. I was a little exasperated with the genre, to be honest. It's so hard for people to get right, and a lot of it is juvenile, po-faced and wanky. But 'The Voices' leapt off the shelf for me. It's a proper haunted house story - featuring the obligatory possessed wife and the driven, haunted husband - but the twist here is setting this back in the very era of the New English Library paperback shockers itself. There's a degree of knowingness and sly wit in putting this back in the late 70s and making the obsessed artist a slightly naff Radiophonic music expert, and his wife an ex-model from the late 60s. I can picture Jeremy Brett and Susan Penhaligon in the TV version made by LWT...

It's a novel that remembers to bring in the irony and the wit along with the scares and spooks. Every ghost story is a loving pastiche of *something* - and every spooky book is itself haunted...

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