Patricia's life has fallen apart. Her son, Noah, is in a Russian prison, framed for a crime that he didn't commit. Her husband has abandoned her, and mounting legal costs have left her broke. In desperate need of funds to pursue Noah's appeal, she takes a job supervising the renovation of Gaunt House, an Elizabethan ruin on the North York Moors. When a corpse and a diary are discovered in the rubble, she begins to investigate the house's tragic history - and finds that the past, and the dead, are closer than they seem.
©2014 Philip Hemplow (P)2016 Philip Hemplow
Exciting, tense, gripping
Stephen King's The Shining has some elements in common -- an updated haunted house story, but with a Lovecraftian udnercurrent
A brilliant performance which really brought the characters alive -- amazingly versatile covering everything from an wealthy Amercan to a 16th century Yorkshirewoman.
I think you need some breaks in to digest what is going on and try and guess what happens next.
The haunted house story has a long pedigree, and the tropes are well-established – half-heard voices, poltergeist effects, an escalating series of events leading to The Awful Discovery – challenging any writer to inject freshness and originality. What makes Ashes such a pleasure to read is how Hemplow re-imagines the genre, and ambushes the reader with their own expectations. Shock and horror are here in spades.
Patricia is managing the rebuilding of a ruined medieval house on the Yorkshire Moors for an American client. Patricia’s son is in a Russian prison, and she desperately needs money to fund his appeal. As Patricia’s personal situation declines and her mental health spirals alarmingly, we also follow the parallel story of Elizabeth, the house’s last occupant, via her discovered diary – Hemplow gives us a note-perfect rendition of Tudor style, with a fine command of Shakespearean invective and attention to historic detail.
As the stories converge, the final horror turns out to be something much nastier than your average ghost, and Ashes builds to a suitably shattering finale.
Devotees of HP Lovecraft will enjoy the numerous references. Hemplow’s verbal panache and talent for winding up the tension make this a very superior slice of modern Mythos.
This book is truly an horror book from beginning to end. It was hard for me to pause and do other things. If your genre is horror, this audiobook is for you.
"Slow starting book but good overall."
The story was slow to start but soon picked up pace. It was an overall good story but the ending was a bit confusing. Narrator did well and I liked the various character development.
(This book was given to me free for an honest and unbiased review. )
"Spooky house and those bloody Russians!"
I love a good scare and although I didn't get that...it's hard to come by as we are mostly shock proof these days...I thoroughly enjoyed this tale. The only reason the overall was 4 not 5 stars was the ending. A bit too abrupt with no real conclusion. I even listened to it again thinking I had missed something. However with that aside, it had a storyline that kept me actively listening and loving the back story of her son and the Russians and the to and fro issues with her clingy ex-husband. Philip wrote a good little complex story and Diana was very easy to listen to. Very happy with this book.
"Terrifically cosmic and intensely personal horror. Why isnt there more Hemplow???"
I've read two other stories by Hemplow, "Innsmouth Syndrome" and "Sarcophagus." They both had a terrific sense of desolation and bleakness on a scale that crushes hope with inevitable certainty. Not out of malice, but because hope in Hemplow's stories is a delusion resulting from our species' many limitations of perspective.
Why do I mention two stories that are not this one? So you know this is not a fluke, and more people need to read or listen to Hemplow.
If that sounds appealing, listen to this right now. Right now.
It absolutely needs to be said that Diana Croft is a spectacular reader and performer. Long story short, just as I would listen to anything by Hemplow no matter who read it, I would now listen to anything performed by Croft, no matter who wrote it.
She has a splendid breadth of performance and puts a powerful emotive life into the story as she reads it.
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