Thursday, February 7, 2019

Book Review: 'The Haunting' by Raymond M. Hall

Australian author Raymond M Hall, born in Essex, England and lived in Mistley, and spent his evolving career in various occupations including the police force. He now lives and writes in New South Wales, Australia.

Raymond writes with a style that demands admiration and commands our attention. The manner in which he blends bifurcated time frames and characters places the story of success and career changes and love stories into the realm of the paranormal - and for a story with the title ‘The Haunting’ this approach works very well.

One of Raymond’s many strong attributes as a writer is the manner in which he sculpts his characters. Of the several important characters in this book, note how he introduces Sebastian: ‘Sebastian needed an interest, something to take his mind off music altogether. Relaxing once again into travel mode, he mulled over the things he was capable of and settled on a past hobby he had as a teenager. His father had been a builder with not one musical bone in his body, and mother was a beautiful woman, but again no musical talent. Sebastian had no idea where his musical ability derived, perhaps some distant antecedent? His parents had been killed together in a road accident over twenty years before, just when his career was hitting the heights. He remembered helping his father when he was younger and enjoyed spending time around building sites, especially renovation projects. He thought at one time he would follow in his father’s footsteps, but that was before his old music teacher had realised the hidden talent he possessed in his fingers. A scholarship had developed, and things had progressed rapidly. He had won just about every award that was winnable and held honorary degrees from music colleges worldwide.’

But for a very brief summary of this long book the following synopsis captures highlights – ‘Sebastian Carmichael is one of the world's greatest concert pianists, but he feels a new life awaits him when the strain of performing becomes too much. A trip to the countryside sees him take on the challenge of a run down property in Lincolnshire, a disused bakery, and he can't wait to get to grips with renovating the sadly neglected building. However, it seems he is not the only occupant and is forced to come to terms with his unwelcome guests. The past meets the present as he struggles to make his new found venture a success, particularly when he encounters a new love, the mysterious Briony.’

Tremendously satisfying writing and character/time interplay make this a book to treasure. Think Poe, Doyle, King…Grady Harp, November 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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