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The Possessions of Doctor Forrest [Paperback]

Richard T. Kelly , Urh Sobocan
2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
RRP: 7.99
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Book Description

1 Mar 2012

Three respected Scottish doctors - psychiatrist Steve Hartford, paediatric surgeon Grey Lochran and cosmetic surgeon Robert Forrest - have been close friends since their Edinburgh boyhoods, and now live handsomely in suburban London. But for each, midlife has brought certain discontents, especially for Forrest, a reformed womaniser who broods over his fading looks and the departure of his beautiful younger girlfriend.

When Dr Forrest goes missing one summer evening and fails to return, Lochran and Hartford are alarmed by the thought of what might have befallen their friend. The police can find no evidence of foul play, but the two doctors resolve to conduct their own investigation.

Soon, however, Lochran and Hartford find themselves bedevilled by bizarre, unnerving events, and the attentions of menacing strangers. Robert Forrest, they come to realise, has remained closer than they could ever have imagined...

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Product details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber (1 Mar 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571241557
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571241552
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 927,713 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Richard T. Kelly is the author of two novels, Crusaders (2008), hailed by the Financial Times as 'a magnificent state-of-the-nation epic' and The Possessions of Doctor Forrest (2011). Previously he authored three acclaimed 'oral history' books on film and film-makers: Alan Clarke (1998), The Name of This Book is Dogme 95 (2000), and the authorised biography Sean Penn: His Life and Times (2004). He has also edited Ten Bad Dates With De Niro: A Book of Alternative Film Lists (2007). Richard was born in Newcastle-upon-Tyne in 1970, and grew up in Northern Ireland. In 2000 he wrote and presented the Channel 4 documentary The Name of This Film is Dogme 95 and in 2010 Channel 4 also broadcast his first screenplay for television, Eclipse. He is a contributing editor for Esquire magazine and has written for a great range of newspapers and magazines.

Product Description


'A thrilling Gothic 2.0... paying homage to a genre that [Kelly] clearly knows intimately and loves dearly.' -- The Times

'In The Possessions of Doctor Forrest, Richard T Kelly has put his own original stamp on the [gothic horror] genre.'

--Financial Times

'Richard T. Kelly's new novel is a rattlingly good yarn that wears a bloody Gothic heart on its sleeve.' --Metro,

'A very satisfying thriller... marshalled with a real feel for pace [and] character.' --The List

'Kelly doesn't rely on a twist or a stagey reveal, but rather lets his central plot device seep slowly to the surface so that the reader has the pleasure of gradually gathering the story's nasty truths. The author has also adeptly incorporated modern horrors that might well have intrigued Stevenson, Hogg or Bram Stoker: plastic surgery, celebrity rehab, body dysmorphia, psychiatric manipulations. The world he creates is vivid and seductive ... The Possessions of Doctor Forrest will make a pleasing addition to any bookshelf already darkened by Audrey Niffenegger's Her Fearful Symmetry or Glen Duncan's The Last Werewolf. A movie adaptation would be fun; perhaps Sean Penn should be practising his Edinburgh accent.' -- Scotland on Sunday

'Rich in character portrait, sly social observation and convincing technical detail … Mysterious deaths and strange encounters abound. Then comes a cunning narrative twist, which displays the earlier events in an entirely new and thoroughly spooky light. The whiff of brimstone grows stronger by the page, and the conclusion is little short of a glimpse into Hell … Kelly has managed to produce one of those rare hybrids: a book which has the robust narrative drive of genre fiction but also the thoughtfulness and stylistic flair of good literary fiction.' --Kevin Jackson, Independent

'If you're looking for a yarn about making a dodgy deal with the devil, a fast-paced pitch-black romp through some familiar spooky locations and situations, you won't be disappointed.' --Toby Litt, Guardian

'A horror novel of the most enjoyably reckless stripe... the narrative s cumulative effect is memorable and potent, particularly in its conjuring of a world of animal savagery and relentless predation... full of dark skies and storm clouds, thick with ancient sign and symbol, with worms, snakes, masks, mirrors; above all, with the copious spilling of blood. The tone is morbid, flesh-creeping... the explanation, when it comes, is satisfyingly lurid.' --Jonathan Barnes, Times Literary Supplement

Book Description

Dr Jekyll meets Dr Faustus in this spine-chilling, modern-day Gothic fable.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Possessions of Doctor Forrest 24 Oct 2011
By Jaycey
Format:Kindle Edition
This book was chosen for me to read by my local book club.

The overall opinion of the club was that this book wasn't a good read, and I was the only one to have a different opinion. I did enjoy it.

But, I have to admit that I haven't read any of the other books which this was compared to, such as Dracula, Jekyll and Hyde, Dorian Grey, Dr Faust. Maybe that is why I enjoyed it, as I couldn't compare it to the other works.

There were two downsides to this book, the first being the reason why I could only score it a 3/5. This was the diary entry style of writing. It didn't work for me. I really couldn't imagine people writing in that style in modern day. I doubt anyone would write multiple pages every day on what had happened to them. Also, as the writing style was exactly the same for each character, it sometimes become confusing which doctor was talking.

The second downside relates to Doctor Forrest and what actually happended to him. The rest of my book club had worked out what the twist was within pages of the book, some even by simply reading the blurb on the back of the book. I avoided reading it in case it spoilt the surprise, and as I was reading I tried not to work things out, and let the book tell me as we went along.

Overall, I don't think I would recommend this book to other people who have read the classics, but it could be good for someone to read that is new to this genre.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliantly, darkly terrifying. 22 Jun 2011
By Lovborg
This is a book that makes you check that you've locked the front door. And then, when you've turned off the lights, and you're ready to turn in, you go downstairs (somewhat nervously) just to be extra certain that you're safe. This is not because Richard T. Kelly's second novel is gory, explicit and soaked in blood: in fact its power lies in its restraint, in what's missing - but then consider the cliched truth that Hitchcock's "Psycho" grips and terrifies precisely because of its restraint. I've never been this scared by a book: it got into my head and hasn't shifted - and I can only recommend that you give it some space too.
It's a homage to, and an update of, the Victorian Gothic novel - and much more. The title suggests "Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde", but it also suggests "Doctor Faustus" and Dostoyevsky's "The Possessed" (or "The Devils", as it's often translated), and the novel is as rich in allusion and reference as the title, taking in Dante, Baudelaire, David Cronenberg and (it sometimes seems) every point in between. But this is no dry, academic pastiche - it is a proper page-turning thriller and horror story about friendship, love and the forces that control and "possess" us.
I can't do justice to Kelly's prose style: it's steeped in muscular, nineteenth century construction, but it's unfussy, clear and direct. His ear for dialogue is bang on and (unusually for this genre) his female characters are every bit as compelling and vivid as the men.
It's a thriller, so I won't go into the plot,other than to say that it twists and turns as satisfyingly and as unpredictably as one could wish. And it is properly frightening: this isn't campy horror cliches - this is Evil with a capital "E" and it's as irresistible, compelling and unforgettable as that sounds.
So: I can only urge you to read it. However the above might read, "The Possessions of Doctor Forrest" wears its learning lightly, and creates something dark, modern and terrifying from it. Brilliant.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Appalling 5 Aug 2013
By Winnie
Please do not buy this book!
The storyline is all over the place. Each chapter records the accounts of each character within the book. It isn't hard to understand what is happening (the title alone gives a huge hint) but the book fails to explain why things happen as they do. The final chapter from Dr Forrest himself adds to the confusion as he recalls events but fails to explain why what happened to him happened. In the final chapter new characters are introduced that add nothing to the overall storyline!
I wanted to live this book but was overwhelmingly unimpressed. Sorry.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fiendishly brilliant 17 July 2011
I had been looking out for Richard T. Kelly's new novel after being mightily impressed with his first, Crusaders, which was published several years ago.

The Possessions of Doctor Forrest is a very different piece of fiction, but no less impressive. Where Crusaders painted a broad canvas of modern life in North-East England in all its variety (social, political, religious), Kelly's new work is a much more concentrated piece - a dazzling, dark jewel of a novel.

Though Kelly is a devilishly good plotter, no novel can survive without a strong cast. The genius of The Possessions lies partly in Kelly's capacity to create complex, rounded characters: men and women with whom the reader engages closely, wants to understand, and cares about. These are not cyphers, placed on the page simply to advance the novel's scintillating plot, but living people, with all the anxieties, ambitions, doubts and contradictions that lie at the heart of the human experience. They agonise over their careers, worry about their marriages, fret about their fading youth, wonder where their aspirations have led them, and ponder their legacy in the world. They can be sensitive and heartless, cruel and compassionate, caring and brutal. They feel real.

And into this rich contemporary tapestry are woven older, darker strands - Gothic, certainly, but in many ways timeless. Though other readers have rightly cited the novel's Faustian theme, and its embracing of Gothic figures like Frankenstein, Dracula, and Jekyll and Hyde, the story goes right back to the first, mythic act of sin, when man surrendered to temptation, and lost his innocence forever.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Oh dearie, dearie me...
I like 'gothic' a lot but, golly gosh, it does need to be done well to be bearable. The first few pages of the 'The Possessions... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Bilbob
2.0 out of 5 stars I finished it but...
It must have been because I found myself on a desert island with no other book in sight. It might be better then watching paint dry but only marginally.
Published 14 months ago by echo
1.0 out of 5 stars A possession to regret
According to amazon's guide as to what makes a good review, one of the points is, "What would you have wanted to know before you purchased the product?". Read more
Published 19 months ago by Tobias Murran
3.0 out of 5 stars Decent Gothic-inspired mystery
Three Scottish doctors - Grey Lochran, Robert Forrest and Steven Hartford - have been friends since their medical school days. Read more
Published 22 months ago by Marie
3.0 out of 5 stars Ummmm - unsure
I had great expectations for this book as the description sounded interesting. Unfortunately, I was left rather disappointed, the characters I found to be rather flat and the... Read more
Published on 16 July 2012 by booboo
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
I am afraid I did not enjoy this book at all. I did not find it scary or thrilling in the least. I have not read Dracula, Faust etc and still would not recommend it. Read more
Published on 23 May 2012 by Rosie
4.0 out of 5 stars Captivating
The Possessions of Doctor Forrest was a good read. It lead you off on lots of twists and turns and only in the later stages did you start to think what was really happening.
Published on 15 May 2012 by bookworm
2.0 out of 5 stars a book I may never finish and possibly regret possessing
I have kept on trying to get into this book and am coming to the conclusion that it may be one of the very rare novels I don't finish. Read more
Published on 17 April 2012 by Brian Swinton
2.0 out of 5 stars Gothic 2.0??
I am afraid I cannot recommend this book. I am currently 30 pages from the end, but I do not think I will finish it (I will exercise my reader's right to stop, as the French writer... Read more
Published on 28 Dec 2011 by K. N.
2.0 out of 5 stars Nothing new in this book
I read this book for a book group otherwise I would have given up. I found the plot tedious as it merley regurgitates older, more accomplished gothic novels. Read more
Published on 13 Oct 2011 by Ms. M. Moffat
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