My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The perfect suburban ghost story. Matheson always did have a way with blending the mundane job of living a working life with the supernatural forces that might swirl just beyond perception and will rush in given a chance. His work was consistently at the top of the field and A STIR OF ECHOES is no exception.
It’s the simplest of simple plots. A working man gets hypnotized, hypnotist accidently opens the man’s mind to the great beyond, and man starts to experience the wider world of the weird beyond his normal day to day life – including the strange woman in his living room.
Matheson makes it work by populating the tale with believeable characters, and by hitting us with several set pieces that not only ramp up the tension but are genuinely creepy and have that ‘cold tingle in the spine’ moment that marks all the best ghost stories.
The Kevin Bacon movie went all out on the special effects for this one, but they weren’t needed. It’s the quiet moments, spent alone in the dark with what’s inside – and outside – your mind that makes this so effective.
For me, one of the best haunting novels ever written. It’s short, fast, and packs a real punch.