Thursday, November 30, 2017
Book Review: 'The Red Door: The Thirteenth Boy' by E.H. James
Canadian author E.H. James is a prolific writer of short stories – stories that test the imagination and call forth ghost like thoughts of the dark world about which we know very little. James is part of that conundrum as there is no biographical information on this gifted author as though that is meant to be part of the mysteries presented. We learn that she has read and researched in the areas of parapsychology and metaphysics, for the past 40 years, and has woven the real and imaginary together into stories of the strange and bizarre. The fruits of her labor show!
James’ mastery of the short story is obvious to those readers fortunate to have been introduced to her craft. In a matter a few pages she is able to conjure an atmosphere that challenges the reader’s courage to enter past the initial page, and the manner in which she quickly sketches lifelike characters and draws us into their interactions with the challenges they encounter is masterful.
THE DEMON SERIES of which THE RED DOOR is the initial volume demonstrates James’ master of the short story. In a brief 34 pages she sets the seed for the eight part series. He the entire Demon Series will cover centuries, the initial volume opens in California in 1962.
James’ synopsis covers the story well ‘Max is your typical 16-year-old kid trying to navigate his way through yet another high school, in California in1962, Unable to avoid the bullies that love to torment everyone in their sight, Max plays along. But when they demand he go into the abandoned Starke house at midnight, on the anniversary of the serial killer's execution, Max is not overly anxious to comply. For it is said Starke reappears at the scene of the crime, back to where he buried all those boys in his basement. Given the task of returning with a chip of blood from the basement door, Max heads into the house, determined to make fools out of every one of them. For only a fool would believe in such nonsense…right?’
Knowing that the series continues makes the mystery of part 1 a very exciting overture. E.H. James is a masterwriter. Grady Harp, November 17
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