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Summary

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

What members say

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Not for me

I do love a murder mystery, but this story somewhat confounded me. It felt to me, at times, that Mr Hemplow had swallowed a thesaurus such was his use of English. I read a great many books and like to think I have an extensive vocabulary. Mr Hemplow's lexicon is obviously far superior to mine, but just because you can replace an everyday word with one of of unusual or infrequent use, doesn't mean you necessarily should. I believe the term is sesquipedalian loquaciousness and very rarely does it enhance a story. Not only that, I found Patricia profoundly unlikable; arrogant, high handed and cold. So much so, that I really didn't care much what happened to her, Henry or Noah. The enjoyment in this book is derived purely from the narration. Diana Croft is charged with playing a London snob, a Russian lawyer, a York detective and an American celebrity wife to name but a few. I wonder if authors think of the enormous challenge they're setting these underappreciated and undervalued voice actors? As we have come to expect from Ms Croft, she pulls off all the accents with aplomb, turning in an Oscar winning performance. Bravo Ms Croft, you had your work cut out for you with this book!

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Wow!! Exciting stuff!

I loved the storyline of Ashes, excitement, great characters, well written fun and scary! But what made it come to life was the narration. Every character had such a distinct voice and accent that you could clearly picture them all and knew exactly who was speaking. Then to make it even better, the spooky voices had effects on them that really made me jump! It was better than watching a good scary movie! Highly recommend to anyone wanting a good story that is extremely well performed. There is salty language and some violence though so be warned. Not for the faint hearted! Loved it!!!

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A haunted house unlike any other

If you could sum up Ashes in three words, what would they be?

Exciting, tense, gripping

What other book might you compare Ashes to, and why?

Stephen King's The Shining has some elements in common -- an updated haunted house story, but with a Lovecraftian udnercurrent

What does Diana Croft bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

A brilliant performance which really brought the characters alive -- amazingly versatile covering everything from an wealthy Amercan to a 16th century Yorkshirewoman.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I think you need some breaks in to digest what is going on and try and guess what happens next.

Any additional comments?

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.

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  • med c
  • 22-04-16

Ashes

If you could sum up Ashes in three words, what would they be?

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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Mercedes
  • 04-05-16

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. )

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • ReadinAlways
  • 20-11-17

not what I expected

I was expecting more of a ghost story. this is NOT what this one was about. more than half of the book was flashbacks from an old diary and renovation talk. also I hated that we were kept in the dark about why her son was in jail until the end of the book. the book really didn't get interesting for me till there was 36 minutes left
then it got sorta.... hmm.. messy. but still confusing. ending was left hanging... no closure.

this just wasn't my cup of tea.

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  • Reed
  • 22-02-17

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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  • Janine
  • 22-04-16

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.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful