Sunday, 18 September 2016

'Bone Matter'

David A. Sutton's contribution to the Third G&S Book of Shadows is a first, in that I didn't guess which M.R. James story it was a sequel to for several pages. This may be down to my own gormlessness, of course. But I like to think it's mostly down to the author's skill!

The story begins with Richard, a sensible young chap, in hot pursuit of a sexy young woman he met at a music festival. Trying to find Serena leads him into the wilds of Herefordshire where he believes she is walking in the vicinity of a particular town. Exploring, Richard visits the local museum and finds some interesting relics, all man-made but in rather different ways...

I can't go into details without giving away too much. No spoilers from me, no sir. Suffice to say Sutton handles the supernatural thriller with true Jamesian aplomb, and there are some excellent scenes as Richard starts to doubt his senses. Encounters in an apparently deserted church are particularly well-handled. The ghostly world closes in on a protagonist who has no real idea what's going on. But we do. And offers a subtle, pleasing terror of a kind the Provost himself would not, I think, have found unacceptable.


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