Hey there peeps and welcome to my stop on the Medium wave blog tour. I hope you enjoy my review and, indeed, the book. My sincere thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for this opportunity to shout about Rose’s book. So, onwards….
Author: Rose Zolock (@RoseZolock)
Publisher: Caffeine Nights
The light shifts, subtly at first, but then, as if your peripheral vision begins to constrict, the light narrows more and more until only a pinprick remains. panicking you grasp for the lights as a penetrating cold envelops you and a voice in your ear whispers “we are here….we are blurrrrbbbbbbbb”:
“Becky Moran has built a career claiming to talk to the dead. A successful clairvoyant medium, a Cambridge graduate with her own radio show `Medium Wave’ and a team dedicated to crafting the celebrity myth – because Becky Moran is a fake. Until, one night, something supernatural, inexplicable, breaks through live on air as she is broadcasting. Becky Moran discovers the paranormal is real, the dead can indeed speak and she is being pursued relentlessly towards a battle for her very survival.”
‘This thing has no defined shape. Whatever energy exists within it, it cannot settle on a shape. The strands of darkness curl out and then wrap back inwards. The bulk of the shadow becomes concave, then bulbous, the height building in on itself but lacking any skeletal structure to wrap itself around. There are no eyes, no clearly defined head shape. It is creating itself from darkness, like a swirl of ebony ink dropped into a vat of putrid water, spreading silently….’
What would you do if you could see and hear the dead? They’d be bloody everywhere: In the queue for the shops; at work; while you were having your dinner; looking over your shoulder whilst you were reading a book; in the bath with you; watching you whilst you were having a bit of the other….frankly I would go mad. I don’t like the idea at all that the dead stay with us, watching us, unseen. I take absolutely zero comfort from that. I don’t want my grandma seeing me at my most vulnerable moments, or watching me during some, um, private time. That thought of her saying, unheard to me, “ooh, put that thing away, you’ll go blind!”, fills me with no joy at all. My point here is, for me at least (and I realise that this isn’t everyone’s opinion, I’m not starting a religious debate here so don’t try ;)), the thought that once you have snuffed it that’s it, kaput, you are no more, is of a greater comfort to me than the idea of some afterlife. I don’t want to be hanging around watching my kids, grandkids, or any descendent for that matter, doing stuff that I have no right to be seeing and being unable to tell them or ever speak to them again. Anyway, I digress. I guess if you could see and communicate with the dead you’d get used to it in the end; it would just have to become part of your daily routine. In Medium Wave, this is pretty much what happens to Becky Moran.
When Becky holds, live on air, the innocuous looking crystal that once belonged to the 16th Century Royal Astronomer Dr John Dee, an amulet that is claimed to enable the bearer to speak to and see the dead, things go spectacularly tits up. You see, Becky is a fake. She and her radio bosses, and through her company Divine Diva, have carefully crafted a persona, one that she peddles to the gullible masses live on stage and via her weekly radio show, Medium Wave. It’s very, very successful. But then, like a doofus, she goes and holds the amulet live on air and suddenly she is a fake no more; Becky can see and hear the dead all around her. And there is something else; something that means to do her harm. Like, much harm, and her life will be changed forever.
This is most definitely a book that should be read in the dark. Not total darkness because then you wouldn’t be able to see what you are reading, unless you use an eReader, then that’s fine; the eerie glow from the screen casting shadows to make you jump, if they are shadows….? Um, where was I? Oh yes, the dark. You see, Rose Zolock has written a book of immense creeping menace. When she describes the encroaching force, the dark evil entity stalking Becky, she writes with a skill that often has you catching your breath with every sentence. And all of this is just in the first two chapters! Aside from the usual mums, dads, grannies, grandads and assorted other dead peeps, something evil has also been unleashed. Becky can see a dark entity, one that has her firmly in her sights and will not rest until it claims her. I know right? What a bummer.
Despite the fact that this book will make you turn all your lights up and cover up all of your mirrors (especially if they are Gothic, or have any black on them anywhere at all – read the book and you’ll see), check over your shoulder and have you offering a silent apology to anyone who may be in the room with you when you do a ‘naughty thing’, whatever that may be, there is also a strong line in humour running throughout. This book is funny. Most of this comes at the expense of the ‘wack jobs’ as Becky’s business partner, Hugh Jolly, calls them, guests that queue up to be heard on Medium Wave the radio show. Chief amongst these is Bert Brookings, a self confessed healer, body builder, ‘roid head, sock stuffer and Unicorn fanatic. He claims to harness the Power of the Unicorn in his healings and is a Big Thing over in the USA, but struggles to get a foothold in the UK. He also harbours more than just a grudge at Becky’s success, much to Hugh’s disgust: “Anyone peddling unicorn healing needs a bloody shrink – the charlatan – I am more likely to employ a dead slug dressed in tinsel than that Welsh idiot!” Harsh words coming from a man who is himself peddling a “charlatan” to the paying public. However, Bert is not a man to be messed with, however laughable he may be. When he does finally come into the studio to be interviewed, Becky becomes aware of something attached to Brookings:
“…the mass was like an ink stain on blotting paper, deep and permanent, throwing everything around it into sharp relief. Becky knew that the very space it occupied was a vacuum. As Brookings turned to look at the space Becky was staring at, the entity turned in perfect synchronicity, as if it were a black shadow, bound and stitched by invisible threads, muscle to muscle, skin cell to skin cell, joined to the human host. A black, carbonised attachment to Brookings, turning as he turned, not straightening or moving in any other way. The dark mass – beyond Becky’s comprehension – existed in its conjoined dimension. Silent, absorbing all available light.”
Proper creepy right? Medium Wave is peppered throughout with beautifully written passages such as this. Rose excels in putting across this fear, this insidious presence that lurks outside of our perception. She has a way of getting under your skin, making you aware of every little sound as you read – did someone just whisper “we are here” in my ear just then?
Nah……. *turns light on quickly*
There’s a sequence set inside a restored Lancaster Bomber from WW2 that is so well written that I actually felt like I was there too. I don’t want to give too much away here, of course, but I almost had to open the windows to let out the smell! Rose’s writing is beautifully evocative and she also has a great ear for dialogue and character. Her background as a journalist and broadcaster definitely helps to lend this book an air of authenticity, especially in the radio show scenes.
And then there is Chapter 14. We won’t talk about Chapter 14 here, but it is a proper “Oof” moment. I love it when writers do that to us.
Once again in a review I find that I cannot talk about this book without spoiling the ride. Buy it, read it, love it. It’s a truly creepy, insidious, menacing story, but with a humorous vein running throughout. There is also a message here too, in a way: be careful of those you mock as different, whatever that may be – you never know when it, or they, will come back and bite you on the arse.
Don’t forget to check out the other magnificent bloggers on the tour for more reviews and exclusive content. (P.S. if you touch this blog tour banner you may be able to see and hear the dead. But you do so at your own risk and the Beardy Book Blogger takes no responsibility for any adverse, pant-wettingly scary consequences.)
About Rose Zolock
Her Irish grandmother first told Rose about the Banshee when she was just a small child. How the wailing sound of the spirit of the dead and dying could be heard when someone was about to pass.
It was family folklore that the women in the family had ‘the touch’, the ability to see spirits and other dimensions. Rose listened and grew up fascinated by those who claimed to have supernatural or psychic abilities.
Rose does not claim to have those powers. Take her to Venice in February when the mist swirls over the canals, walk by her side along the darkened streets of Greenwich Village in New York City in high summer, listening to a ghost walk tour guide tell the stories of death, murder and the unexplained – Rose would say those stories and our belief in them gives her a power to see into the shadows within our imagination.
As a journalist, Rose takes every opportunity to explore and investigate strange stories, myth and folklore. Living in rural Yorkshire, with a rich library of ghost stories and literary tradition, Rose also has a sceptical and forensic insight into those who peddle the stories which feed our imagination but of which we have yet found no proof. She has listened to the debunkers who argue against those believers who are convinced that sand the dark side exist.
Rose’s mind is open. Is yours?