11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Channelling the ghost of Wilkie Collins, via Stephen King...,
This review is from: The Seance. A Novel (Hardcover)
This is a fantistically gripping, multilayered and clever little novel. As other reviews have mentioned, it harks back in its style, its subject matter and its overall flavour to the great Wilkie Collins at the height of his powers. Yes, think 'Woman in White' and 'Moonstone' but the one it reminds me most of is the, (in my opinion) ,far superior 'No Name'. They share a spirited heroine, with courage and daring beyond her time and numerous nefarious deeds.
Indeed it is easy to forget that John Harwood is not a Victorian great himself, so powerfully does he evoke the best sensationalist and gothic fiction of the time....perhaps, in keeping with the subject matter, a little spirit guidance is at work?? Only Harwood is also clearly subject to modern conventions of storytelling too and knows his readers now have a far greater cannon of sensationalist literature and film-making to draw upon and his novel is a modern work in the best sense:- lean and muscular, where older fiction can be flacid; unafraid of playing with conventions and most importantly, unpredictable. Its almost as if Wilkie Collins had been able to read Stephen King, Joe Hill and other modern horror icons, before popping back to Victorian England to pen this one!
This is a clever, involving and tautly spiraling work that rewards the reader with a cracking story, clever mystery and chills aplenty. You will want to stay up late into the night reading this one. Buy it...and if you haven't also read 'The Ghost Writer', the first novel by Harwood get that too. And spare a thought for old Wilkie Collins... read No Name its fab too.