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Christopher Ransom ‘The Haunting of James Hastings’ Review


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Written by: Wesley Thomas

This first-hand account of a man’s downfall after the death of his wife is truly disturbing, but nevertheless gripping.

From the very first page you are glued to the enigma of a man, whose actions and motives you question heavily, and whose mental health is scrutinized by not only the reader but many of the characters.

He was recently a body double for an incredible famous singer, travelling the world, and being paid impressively to do so, travel, food, accommodation and entertainment expenses, all of the highest calibre, not to mention his enviable salary.

But we soon find out there is trouble in paradise, and his perfect life, is anything but.

Here you are, being told from first person, the loving relationship between James Hastings and his wife Stacey.

You follow their loving bond and strong connection, which eventually evaporates and sees James desperate for new ways to thrill his wife as he fears her increasing unhappiness.

This insecurity is soon projected to the back of his mind when he finds her dead at the back of their house.

This is where fantastic writing comes to play, Christopher Ransom details the emotional impact that finding a deceased married partner can have on a person.

The journey itself is amazing, and unusual, but what makes this novel special, is how news is delivered.

With the insertion of sarcastic quips, and the admittance of his own failures, and bad decisions, it proves captivating to its audience.

The way by which he depicts his neighbours is remarkable, you truly feel as though you are living on the street and in amongst the rivalries and drama.

Which James is at the top of when he receives a special visit from someone who has information on his wife’s death, information that shakes the ground he is standing on, and throws him into some irrational and dangerous actions.

You feel as though you are observing everything from his eyes, which heightens the horror in my opinion.

The moments of terror in this story are some of the best I have enjoyed, with a culmination of ‘jump’ scares, and tingling times of creeps that have you breaking out in a rash of goosebumps, especially if you read at night.

The eerie silences have you on edge, I remember going pages without taking a breath as I was so mystified in this fictional world, I felt my breathing would alert a malignant presence to awaken in the book.

The intrigue starts with James, but then as the tale unfolds, we begin to build a strong curiosity in regards to his late wife Stacey.

Why did she suddenly become unhappy? Is there are a story there that we are unaware of?

The storylines of James, Stacey, and current predicaments only act as a distraction from the main plot of the insidious habitation that has began to dwell in the Hasting’s house.

Each new chapter brings a horrific discovery, that to James, makes no sense, and he strives for closure to finally rid himself of his inner turmoil as well as this unknown visitor that neighbours claim to have seen strolling in his house.

But the real element of this novel that gives you chills is when people start to notice something about a woman he has begun to date, they see something very familiar in her, and it is disquieting everyone.

Two women come into his life, after the passing of his wife, both with apparent mental problems.

Which are recorded, and proven, but the things these women are saying, and doing, remind James very much of his late wife.

When one of these woman takes her own life, claiming Stacey was ‘making her do it’, he collapses in shock.

Each chapter also unfolds more intriguing past revelations, but also depicts modern day nightmares that James is enduring.

This novel is strife with paranormal activity, and the scenes detailed are enough to give the bravest of warriors deep chills.

This is one to read at night if you’re in the mood for a fright, but if not, then stick to daylight sessions of entering this fictional, yet petrifying world, where spirits can apparently inhabit, and be a menace to the living.

A psychological journey that tests the boundaries of mental health, or therefore lack of.

As new and unusual characters appear woven into the story we begin to question their existence, are they actually there, or figments of someone’s imagination?

Primarily we assume the supernatural occurrences within the household are Stacey, unable to move on, stuck in limbo and infuriated that James is able to find love again.

But we soon find that this presence is doing this to warn James of a threat, not from the land of the dead, but from people that are getting closer and closer to him every day, that have hidden, and insidious agendas.

The climax to the novel is unexpected, usually one is slightly aware of where a tale is leading, a rough idea of how it will all conclude.

But, in this case it sneaks in a shocking blow when vendettas are brought to light, from unsuspecting people, who have been waiting to enact revenge for a long time, even before the death of his wife.

The cusp of this thrilling and sensational novel portrays the mental breakdown of characters, twisting the grounds of reality 360 degrees, but, a fortunate miracle is born of this horrific endurance.

A rocky, turbulent trek exploring the psyche, death, pasts, paranormal, mourning, and delusions, with a termination that brings in a new perspective to every tiny detail of this roller-coaster ride.

Order it here.

Rating: 4/5

 

About The Overseer (1669 Articles)
Author of Say No to Drugs, writer for Blumhouse, Dread Central, Horror Novel Reviews and Addicted to Horror Movies.

1 Comment on Christopher Ransom ‘The Haunting of James Hastings’ Review

  1. I think this is of of the most creative and imaginative books I have read in a long time.

    I really enjoy the misleading title and the back cover story. Im disapointed most people did not feel the same way. This book should be higlhly recommended but many people read it to fast and never make decicions about what they have read.

    After having read the birthing house recently, I consider Chris as one of the most recent misunderstood writers of our time. He is truly a creative man and his novels are on the whole very decent (sure some not).

    I have really being enjoying him and I hope he keeps producing books of this depth. One of my best books. I love his work.

    Like

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