Christopher and his wife, Laura, have found the perfect new house for their soon to expand family. It’s an old Victorian in a nice neighborhood, a house that’s been empty long enough that even with Christopher’s planned renovations it still falls within their budget.
Soon after moving in, though, strange things begin to happen. First, the builders find a bunch of old stuff apparently connected to a medium who’d previously owned the home. Then the couple begins to hear noises: knocking on the walls and voices that Christopher decides will make a great subject for an experimental recording project. But as he becomes more and more obsessed with the voices, Laura becomes convinced the strange occurrences are having a negative effect on them all.
Much of The Voices is about the deterioration of Christopher and Laura’s relationship. The longer they live in the house in question, the more time Christopher spends in his studio devoting all of his energy to the voices. And Laura is correct in believing that the voices are bad.
The setting is a definite stand out. Tallis set his tale in the mid 70s, which adds another layer of friction between the couple – the changes in both of their chosen industries and societal changes as well.
Tallis, whose background is in psychology, no doubt intended this to be a subtler haunted house story. On the one hand I admire it and admit that it does make for a different approach; it’s a clever spin on the classic ghost story. On the other hand, I really wanted more of the thrills and chills and more of Maybury’s story.
2/15 Becky LeJeune
THE VOICES by F. R. Tallis. Pegasus (December 14, 2014). ISBN: 978-1605986562. 352p.