Book Review: The Voices by F.R. Tallis

20729837Title: The Voices

Author: F.R. Tallis

Genre: Horror, Ghosts, Supernatural Horror

Age Group: Adult (18+)

Rating: 4 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

In the scorching summer of 1976 the hottest since records began Christopher Norton, his wife Laura and their young daughter Faye settle into their new home in north London. The faded glory of the Victorian house is the perfect place for Norton, a composer of film soundtracks, to build a recording studio of his own. But soon in the long, oppressively hot nights, Laura begins to hear something through the crackle of the baby monitor. First, a knocking sound. Then come the voices. For Norton, the voices mark an exciting opportunity. Putting his work to one side, he begins the project of a lifetime a grand symphony incorporating the voices and becomes increasingly obsessed with one voice in particular. Someone who is determined to make themselves heard . . .

At the start of The Voices, Christopher Norton and his wife, Laura, purchase a new home. The home happens to be at least a century old, and from the moment she sets foot inside the house, Laura starts having weird sensations. At first, she thinks it’s her imagination, or her pregnancy. But the longer they spend in the house, after they move there with their newborn daughter, Faye, the more they’re troubled by strange events.

Chris composes film soundtracks in the studio he build in the attic of the house. But before long, strange voices start turning up on his tapes. He’s convinced it’s a technical default, until his friend mentions it might be something else – the voices of the dead.

Despite Laura’s warnings, Chris continues to record the voices of the dead, slowly inviting them further into his house. When he’s gone for the weekend to Paris, for a new assigment, Laura and Faye stay alone in the house. Laura hears weird voices through the babyphone, and grows convinced they’re in danger the longer they stay into the house.

Turns out, years ago, the house was inhabited by a magician of some kind. His favorite trick was making children dissapear…and now he has his eyes set on Faye.

This is an unforgiving, relentless book. The pacing is fast from start to end, the writing is great. I liked Laura more than Chris. It’s obvious from the start that their relationship is troubled, and that they suffer from lack of communication. Neither of them are the same person they married. While some couples work through this, neither of them can bring themselves to communicate with the other, especially Chris. In typical 1970s style, Chris grows convinced everything his wife says about weird sensations in the house, is due to hysteria on her part. He should’ve listened to her though, and respected her wishes, especially when she asked him to stop communicating with the dead through recording tapes.

Had they communicated better, they might’ve discovered sooner something was terribly wrong. But their crumbling relationship makes the book more intriguing. The haunting is pretty straightforward, but the dynamics between the characters, and their best friends, another couple, Amanda and Simon, make it more intriguing.

There’s a huge twist toward the ending that was utterly terrifying, and which made the book stand out for me. If you want a ghost story that offers great writing, original elements, and intriguing characters, you should definitely try The Voices.

Speak Your Mind