A Stir of Echoes by Richard Matheson
On August 29, 2013 Tor Books republished Richard Matheson's A Stir of Echoes, a novel first published in 1958 and adapted into a critically acclaimed film starring Kevin Bacon in 1999.
The story centres on Tom Wallace, a seemingly normal suburban man, living an ordinary and happy life. But one evening his brother-in-law challenges him to undergo hypnosis, which he accepts in order to prove a point. Not only does Tom find himself succumbing to what he felt was just a cheap parlour track he also finds the experience leaves him with new powers: He can now sense his neighbour's darkest desires, and see glimpses into both the past and the future. But as his existence becomes unbearable and his sanity threatened, he faces the biggest revelation of all - a message from beyond the grave.
Richard Matheson is always worth reading and he is of course the author of I Am Legend, the Dracula of its generation, such has been its effect on the genre and writers that followed. And while A Stir of Echoes may not been on the same level it is still as able to pack as strong a punch as it was 55 years ago.
For some reason I cannot competently explain I have always found the 1950's naturally creepy and felt that behind the imposed masks of righteousness and high moral standards that the decade was keen to promote there always lurked something dark and sinister, that there were skeletons in the closet. And this book just further reinforces my uneasiness! Yes, it is a little of its time in regards to how the female characters are portrayed but this is far from being an insurmountable obstacle and the tension is tangible throughout with the falsely sincere wholesomeness of 1950's American suburbia laid bare as Tom's new talents allow him to see behind - and into - the depths of darkness that lay behind.
The plot is well constructed, showing Tom's descent into madness and the benefits and disadvantages that come from having second sight and the book is as well-written as you would expect from someone as talented as Matheson, with a dark, foreboding feel to the narrative. The book builds nicely towards an energetic, tense climax that came as a surprise as Matheson had cunningly led the reader to expect something different.
Although not on a par with I Am Legend (which few books are), A Stir of Echoes is still a powerful and, coming in at just over 200 pages, quick read.
This A Stir of Echoes book review was written by Floresiensis
Have you read A Stir of Echoes?
We've found that while readers like to know what we think of a book they find additional reader reviews a massive help in deciding if it is the right book for them. So if you have a spare moment, please tell us your thoughts by writing a reader's review. Thank you.
A Stir of Echoes reader reviews
8.5/10 from 1 reviews
There are currently no reader reviews for this book. Why not be the first?
Write a reader review
Thank you for taking the time to write a reader review for A Stir of Echoes by Richard Matheson; it really helps other readers find that perfect next read. Kindly enter your name, country and review below and click the 'Submit your review' button to send.
More recommended reading in this genre
Never Knew Another
Fugitive Rachel Nolander is a newcomer to the city of Dogsland, where the rich throw parties and the poor just do whatever they can to scrape by. Supported by her brother D...
Apocalyptic Montessa and Nuclear Lulu
Mercedes M Yardley
Her mama always said she was special. His daddy called him a demon. But even monsters can fall in love. Montessa Tovar is walking home alone when she is abducted by Lu, a s...
A flash of light and Detective Joe Dante steps through. No longer on the cobblestone streets of 1961 Boston, Joe finds himself in a horrifying new world-Hell itself. Joe wa...
The Dirty Streets of Heaven
Sure, he takes the occasional trip to Heaven, but his job as an advocate - arguing the fate of the recently deceased - keeps him pretty busy on Earth, and he's more tha...
The Hollow City
Michael Shipman is paranoid schizophrenic; he suffers from hallucinations, delusions, and complex fantasies of persecution and horror. That's bad enough. But what can h...
Life sucks and then you die. Or, if you’re James Stark, you spend eleven years in Hell as a hitman before finally escaping, only to land back in the hell-on-earth tha...
Miriam Black knows when you will die. Still in her early twenties, she's foreseen hundreds of car crashes, heart attacks, strokes, suicides, and slow deaths by cancer. ...
Deadbeat - Makes You Stronger
Max and Tom are old, old friends, who used to be actors. Tom now owns a jazz nightclub called Deadbeat which, as well as being their source of income, is also something of ...
The Year of the Ladybird
It is the summer of 1976, the hottest since records began and a young man leaves behind his student days and learns how to grow up. A first job in a holiday camp beckons. B...
Looking for more suggestions? Try these pages: