Renee at It’s Book Talk began this meme as a way to share old favourites, as well as books that were published over a year ago. Not to mention those that are languishing on the to be read pile for whatever reason.
This week I’m revisiting another very early review – an audiobook narrated by Luke Daniels. Hellfire by John Saul was published in 2014 by Brilliance Audio but the original book was quite a while before that. Reminds me I must check out more books by John Saul.
The old mill in Westover, Massachusetts has a horrific past, with the exploitation of child labour and the unimaginably shocking and cruel action of one man a century ago. There are unexplained incidents involving the mill, which escalate when plans to develop the building begin in earnest, and turn into something very dark and menacing as the terrible secrets kept locked away for so long are set free. This will be vengeance on a huge scale.
Carolyn Rogers married Philip Sturgess, the owner of the mill, after her divorce and she and her daughter, Beth, are now living at the Sturgess mansion with Philip’s daughter, Tracy, and his mother. Neither of them welcome Carolyn and Beth and make their lives miserable. I like the twist of Carolyn’s ex and current husband being good friends. The characters are easy to like, or not, as the case may be. Beth is lonely and struggling to fit in to her new life and because of this she believes she has made friends with Amy, the ghost of a child about her own age. Tracy is the stuff of nightmares and takes every opportunity to make cruel fun of Beth.
It’s a powerful story, very atmospheric, with emotions running high and wild, accentuated immeasurably by Luke Daniels’ performance.
The way the lives of the characters all seem to be entwined with the mill and what happened all those years ago is quite creepy. As the story unfolds it begs the question whether actions taken in the past could influence the lives of subsequent generations.
This is my first foray into John Saul’s work, but not my last, as his writing drew me in and the supernatural aspect was woven into the story really well. The ending was totally unexpected and horrifying and given the epilogue I’m surprised there hasn’t been a follow-up.
The old mill has been silent for a hundred years, its dread secrets locked from view Still, the people of Westover, Massachusetts, remember…and whisper of that terrible day when horrifying flames claimed eleven innocent young lives The day the mill’s doors slammed shut – forever. But now, the last of the once-powerful Sturgess family is about to unlock those doors again…and unleash an elemental fury. For behind the padlocks, deep within the dark, abandoned building, a terrible vengeance waits. A vengeance conceived in…HELLFIRE