I am very happy to state ghost stories can still be entertaining. I have to admit, I wasn’t sure a tale about haunting spirits could still be fun, given the amount of horror that is published and produced every day…but author Jonathan Aycliffe shows us ghosts are still worth reading with THE SILENCE OF GHOSTS, his most recent offering published by Night Shade Books. And although the book doesn’t bring anything new to the table in regard to these bodiless specters, this is still a rousing and thrilling story that fans of horror will love.
If you are not familiar with THE SILENCE OF GHOSTS, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Night Shade Books:
Dominic Lancaster hoped to prove himself to his family by excelling in the Navy during World War II. Instead he is wounded while serving as a gunner, and loses his leg. Still recovering from his wounds and the trauma of his amputation when the Blitz begins, Dominic finds himself shuffled off to the countryside by his family, along with his partially deaf sister, Octavia. The crumbling family estate on the shores of Ullswater is an old, much-neglected place that doesn’t seem to promise much in the way of happiness or recovery.
Something more than a friendship begins to flourish between Dominic and his nurse Rose in the late autumn of that English countryside, as he struggles to come to terms with his new life as an amputee. Another thing that seems to be flourishing is Octavia’s hearing. As winter descends, sinister forces seem to be materializing around Octavia, who is hearing voices of children. After seeing things that no one else can see and hearing things that no one else can hear, Octavia is afflicted with a sickness that cannot be explained. With Octavia’s help, Dominic sets out to find the truth behind the voices that have haunted his sister. In doing so, he uncovers an even older, darker evil that threatens not only Octavia, but Rose and himself.
Jonathan Aycliffe delivers a disturbingly tense ghost story set in the middle of World War II during England’s darkest hour, demonstrating that some fears are timeless…
I didn’t realize Jonathan Aycliffe was actually a pen name for writer Denis MacEoin. I’ve never read anything by either name, however I found this interesting while researching Aycliffe for this review. I always wonder what the motivation is for pen names, whether it be anonymity or simply entertainment.
THE SILENCE OF GHOSTS is written well and flows at a smooth pace. The main story is presented in diary form, which intensifies the suspense as it becomes more personal. I like how Aycliffe achieves a heightened state of intensity by using this form.
The characters are well-rounded and believable. None are stereotypical, however each individual is interesting and fleshed out to the point of realism. I felt a particular connection to Dominic on a personal level, as I have been the “black sheep” of my own family at one point in time. This deepened my immersion into the story and allowed me to have a more emotional reading experience.
THE SILENCE OF GHOSTS is a big win for me, and I recommend it to anyone looking for a good, solid ghost story. As I mentioned above, it doesn’t present anything new or unexplored about ghosts, but it’s fun and full of energy. The book is available now, so give it a shot.