Author: Michael Bray Publisher: Self-Published Published: 19th April 2013 Pages: 400 Format: ebook Source:: Complimentary Copy from Author Add It:Goodreads, Amazon UK, Amazon US
Summary: It was supposed to be a fresh start, a place for Steve & Melody Samson to start their new life together away from the noise and crime of the city. However, their new home – an idyllic cottage nestled deep within the dense solitude of Oakwell forest has a disturbing history, hidden for generations by the local villagers, who are desperate to keep their sleepy town free from potential media attention. As Steve and Melody begin to notice the strange and bizarre things that are happening to them, they begin to unravel the complex web of lies and deceit perpetrated by the locals. Told both in a modern day narrative and flashbacks to the Buildings construction in the 1800s, we learn of the terrible things that reside within Hope House, and the reasons for the history of murder, suicide and insanity for the previous owners of the house. As Steve and Melody delve ever deeper, they are plagued not only the malevolent forces that reside within the house, but also the very real attention of the increasingly unstable realtor Donovan, who has horrific secrets of his own that he will go to any lengths to keep a secret.
While I don’t read them very often, I do love reading horror stories. I find that movies are hard to endure as the tricks are often easy to see through and it’s all just a pile of gimmicks, which is great at first but gets a bit boring eventually. Whereas books have a tendency to dive a little deeper, to get into the nitty and gritty of emotions and to really build the tension through sentence structure and hidden mysteries. Whisper by Michael Bray has everything needed for a good horror story and while it wasn’t one that completely gave me a wow factor, it was a book that I did really enjoy and one that I’m glad I read. It’s just unfortunate that there were a few issues I found with this book, but more likely than anything else these issues are more personal then anything else – especially as a lover of horror books!
The one thing that Michael Bray has achieved is a deep, dark, twisty plot that gets your heart racing. With lots of different things on the horizon, he manages to pull the reader and makes them eager to keep turning the pages. Where you’re taken in one direction for one thing, at the same time you’re being pulled elsewhere which was a really interesting way of doing things. The only problem I had with the plot was that it often got a little bit repetitive. While the scenes of the history were different, they were also the same and it just got a bit irritating to keep reading the same thing. But I also read it on its own (whereas I normally read more than one book at once) and so I was probably just noticing it more than I would have. I can definitely see why it was useful in the book, but it was just something that I struggled with. The rest of the plot was really good though and made up for this small bit of repetitiveness.
As Long As
As mentioned above, one of the best things about horror novels is the way that they can dig deeper into emotions, especially with well-written characters and Michael has achieved this quite well. These characters have depth, they have flaws, but they’re also not the kind of characters who have inhumane strength. They don’t intentionally run into danger and are often seen to struggle getting out of it and I liked that about the book. It helped to make it more real, really bringing a horrifying aspect to the novel. Despite this, I really wasn’t a fan of the main protagonist Melody. But, this was more of a personality crash for me, if I met her in person I would probably roll my eyes and refuse to be friends with her, but that doesn’t mean that she wasn’t a well written character, she just wasn’t for me. Steve, on the other hand, was a great character who was protective, charming, stubborn, and a little obssessed but he almost always had his wife at the forefront of his mind and I liked being able to see that.
The very first thing that captured me about this book is the set up of the chapters. This book jolts you throughout the history of the house and the woods and it instantly had me hooked and wanting to read on. I found it to be exhilariting to capture all of the different moments. When it started to settle on Melody and Steve, I was grateful and looked forward to staying in the presence. Which is probably another reason why when it went back into the history, I didn’t particularly enjoy it. But it can be said that the style really works in the books favour as it makes you eager to continue reading to know what is actually going on and how it will all end up in the end. It is finally worth mentioning Michael Bray’s writing which was the real clincher for me. It was compelling, interesting, and shows that he has a lot of talent. I’ll certainly be looking forward to reading more of his work.
Before It Whispers
All in all, Whisper is a book that aims to set your teeth on edge and to pull you out of your safety zone and it does a good job at it. If you’re looking for a read that is dark, scary, and fully of spiritual and physical horror, then this is definitely the book for you. It is great at building the tension, of keeping the reader entertained, and of just bringing a very unique and good story to life. It is a book that I am really glad that I got a chance to read and would easily recommend to others. While there were a few things that I struggled to enjoy within the book, it is definitely a book that I liked and one that I am certain others will enjoy as well. Especially readers who are less nit-picky then I am! Michael Bray is an author I’ll be keeping an eye on from now on.
** I received this copy from the author in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated nor was I required to write a positive review. **