The Unusual Possession of Alastair Stubb: A Gothic Tale (Urbane Publications, 9781910692349) is positively reviewed in the August 2016 issue of Booklist (circ. 24,150). The complete review follows:
After losing her son, Eleanor Stubb suffers a mental breakdown and is institutionalized. While she is in the sanatorium, her husband, William, loses his job and their home. The couple is forced to move in with William’s father, Theodore. Theodore is an entomologist who fills the attic with preserved specimens. He also possesses a unique pocket watch that he uses to hypnotize people. While hypnotism may seem like a fun pursuit, Theodore is an odious man, who rapes Eleanor once she is in a hypnotic state. When Eleanor becomes pregnant, she is overjoyed, for she thinks her dead son is coming back to her. William is enraged and plots his revenge against his father. The story flashes forward 13 years, when young Alastair deals with the repercussions of that revenge and starts to experience strange, disturbing happenings. This slow building gothic tale may frustrate horror readers looking for an action-packed, quick read. But those willing to invest in the Dickensian language will enjoy the creepy characters, the dreamlike plot, and the horrific conclusion. — Lynnanne Pearson
The turn of the last century and Theodore Stubb’s manor house resides in the quirky village of Muchmarsh. A renowned entomologist, he is often within the attic adding another exotic specimen to his extensive collection of insects. But Theodore is also a master hypnotist, holding the household in thrall to his every whim.
Theodore’s daughter-in-law Eleanor – returned from the sanatorium two months before – is a haunted figure, believing that her stillborn child Alastair lives and hides in the shadows. Then she falls pregnant again, but this time by the hypnotic coercion and wicked ravishment of Theodore. A dreadful act begets terrible secrets, and thirteen years later the boy Alastair Stubb begins to lose his identity….it is not long before mystery, intrigue and murder follow gleefully in his wake.
The Unusual Possession of Alastair Stubb is a gothic terror of the highest order, delivering a dream-like and hallucinatory reading experience that promises to reveal secrets both disturbing and astonishing. Do you dare meet the Stubbs?
David John Griffin is a writer, graphic designer and app designer, and lives in a small town by the Thames in Kent, UK with his wife Susan and two dogs called Bullseye and Jimbo. He is currently working on the first draft of a third novel as well as writing short stories for a novel-length collection.
His first novel – published by Urbane Publications in October 2015 – is called The Unusual Possession of Alastair Stubb. The second is a literary/psychological novel, entitled Infinite Rooms. He has independently-published a magical realism/paranormal novella called Two Dogs At The One Dog Inn. One of his short stories was shortlisted for The HG Wells Short Story competition 2012 and published in an anthology.