Wednesday, June 6, 2012

CBR IV Review #23 - A Stir of Echoes by Richard Matheson

Another one that screws up the quoting format, since google keeps giving me movie quotes.  Bah.

A Stir of Echoes is one of many works of Richard Matheson that has been adapted for the screen.  I saw the movie, starring Kevin Bacon, many years ago.  I don't remember liking it, but there was a creepiness factor to it that made me want to see if the book was better.  As such, when I stumbled upon this in a collection my friend lent me, I decided to check it out.

A Stir of Echoes is about Tom Wallace, an ordinary guy till his brother-in-law, Phil, hypnotizes him at a party and awakens some troubling psychic abilities.  Tom and his pregnant wife, Anne, have to deal with the fact that Tom can now hear some of the thoughts of those around him, sense what people are feeling, and most importantly, that there is a very good chance someone is reaching out to him from beyond the grave.  This leads to a number of troubling revelations about his neighbors, strife within Tom's home, and a lot of issues overall.

The best thing I can say about this book is that it is a quick read.  If it sounds like an episode of the Outer Limits, it should - that's what it feels like.  None of the characters are developed enough for you to give a crap about them, and those reduced stakes ruin the tension.  Tom is annoying, and his reaction to his gift/curse is both repetitive and shallow.  You don't get lost in this, or worry for the characters, or really feel any tension at all.  A chapter ends in a gunshot and I didn't care about putting it down for awhile before continuing - that is a huge problem.  I suppose the big reveal at the end was supposed to be shocking, but I just didn't give a shit.

Skip this one.  There are much better psi thrillers out there.

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