A haunted house inhabited by an increasingly troubled family.
The Voices, a chilling tale of supernatural snooping by F.R. Tallis (The Sleep Room), is set in a well-off London neighborhood during the 1960s. When Christopher and Laura Norton move into their newly purchased and renovated old home with their four-month-old daughter, almost immediately they begin hearing strange things. Christopher, an avant-garde composer, is frustrated that his career has come to be defined by sci-fi music soundtracks; the ghostly voices–communications from the dead?–might be just what he needs to restart his more “serious” calling. Laura is simply terrified; she has always had accurate intuitions and now she is sure the voices are speaking her daughter’s name. Christopher begins sampling the voices for what he hopes will be his career-saving masterpiece; but with what consequences?
On its surface, The Voices is a ghost story set in a haunted house. But its historical setting adds complexity: Laura, a former model, reads The Feminine Mystique and makes new female friends at bookstore readings, as Christopher studies the economic challenges facing his country and his household. Their marriage is threatened not only by the voices and the stress they bring but also the changing times and the family dynamics to which Tallis (a clinical psychologist) applies extra scrutiny. The Nortons’ closest friends, also multifaceted, offer another layer of potential support, betrayal or suspense. With the added dimension of interpersonal relationships, this horror story is undeniably hair-raising.
This review originally ran in the January 2, 2015 issue of Shelf Awareness for Readers. To subscribe, click here, and you’ll receive two issues per week of book reviews and other bookish fun!