Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Book Review: 'Nicholas: Lost Innocence' 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 NICHOLAS: LOST INNOCENCE is the sixth volume demonstrates James’ mastery of the short story. In a brief 104 pages she elevates the suspense for the entire series even more. The entire Demon Series covers centuries; the sixth volume returns to California, 1962.

James’ synopsis covers the story well ‘On a September night, in 1962, five-year-old Nicholas Starke finds himself alone on a street in Fairfield. Confused and frightened, he is rescued by a kind couple. When that same couple adopts him, he is able to move on with his life...only the people in the town of Fairfield won't let him. And when met with angry and frightened stares, wherever he goes, his parents decide it best to move. But where can you go, when strange happenings follow your every move? Will Nicholas hold on to what is left of his innocence, or will his brother's influence be his downfall?’

Knowing that the series continues makes the mystery of part 6 a very exciting continuation and growth. E.H. James’ masterful uses of the back and forth time frames for the series adds immeasurably to the suspense, with backgrounds offered in a near random fashion to explain the destinies of her characters. She is a master writer. Grady Harp, December 17

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.

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