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More co-incidences than Mystic Megs 'Horror-scopes'
Prophecy - Peter James
Member Name: Emma1973
Prophecy - Peter James
Date: 22/04/13, updated on 22/04/13 (42 review reads)
Advantages: Short, easy, fun story
Some regular crime/thriller readers may be familiar with the writer Peter James, who has written the highly successful Detective Inspector Roy Grace series. Occasionally though he branches out and writes the odd unrelated book and hence there's this relatively small book, Prophecy.
The back of the book itself is probably enough to draw readers in, even if they don't know its James. The blurb isn't always interesting but this one?
Non Omnis Moriar
I shall not altogether die.
A young man watches his mother die. Drunken students play with a Ouija board in a damp cellar. A sadistic man dies in agony. Can bricks and mortar retain imprints of the emotions experienced within them?
Well that, and the fact that Asda are currently selling it for a £1 meant it soon made its way into my basket.
We start at the beginning and I mean right at the beginning, a Prologue set in 1652, a chapter full of Satanism, satanic paedophiles and bad Lords who meet rather gruesome ends. It's very Herbert in its tone and language, and to be honest, rather delicious!
The rest of the book concerns Frannie, the daughter of Italian immigrants, who is a research assistant at the British Museum. Your typical 30ish singleton, she has a chance encounter on a train station and as they say, things will never seem the same.
Believe it or not I haven't really addressed the plot! Frannie and Ollie's relationship starts on a co-incidence, co-incidence features heavily throughout the book. Their relationship gathers apace despite tragedies occurring around her friends who took part in the Ouija board session and somehow Ollie's son Edward is involved, and of course the blood and guts and severed limbs soon mount up!
It's a great plot, very James Herbert but without the Nazi's! The plot is credible, there's twists and turns but it all adds up nice and neatly. There's no huge leaps of imagination needed to add the entire plot together which also shows a competent seasoned writer. It's not a hugely original story, but by Lordy its fun!
Frannie is a 'real' person. That is to say we all know someone like her, we've met people like her, so it's not too difficult to imagine how she would act and behave.
And she does behave like that impeccably well, it's never nice to see someone being broken down because of the events around her and you just want to give her a verbal kick up the arse when her relationship with Oliver is evolving and they begin to realise that their paths have already crossed quite a few times. Frannie is the heroine of course, but does it all come good for her?
Oliver aka Lord Sherfield. A widower with one son he doesn't happen to redeem himself at all in the story. Strangely I wouldn't be too impressed if on our second date he just happens to take me to his mansion, not mentioning he was a Lord and dropping me right in it! And I can imagine a father becoming very protective over his son but when he appears to be the son of Satan and weird things sort happening you'd think he might take the blindfold off try and help his son. I just thoroughly disliked him and dismissed him as very weak. But looking back on it I wonder if he actually has a touch of his not very salubrious ancestors!
Edward is Oliver's son and appears to be slightly odd; he certainly seems to be around when things go wrong. He's not a very child, and his nice moments are probably a lot more sinister then when he's trying to hang the dog! Edward is very well written though, it would have been very easy for James to just copy the character of Damien from the Omen but he manages to avoid this and give him a character of his own.
There are several other characters Susie, Seb, Phoebe and others who took part in the Ouija board session, as they meet some interesting grisly tragedies along the way it would have been easy to gloss quickly over, but particularly the above three are an in-depth character, that's to say you know all about their lives, loves and who they are. This leads you to actually care about the victims and what happens to them, you know what's coming but you do have a faint hope that all will be resolved before something happens!
Fannies' parents are great, again we've met people like them, immigrants who just want to get on in life and make a success of their lives. I can't tell you too much about Penrose her co-worker as I'd like, but blimey he's funny and thoroughly necessary!
It's a great cast of characters, not one is but in their just for the sake of convenience and to join the story together but they all have their part to play.
In summary I love this book, it's a real change from his thriller novels and a great suspense/horror story, thankfully it's not the only one he's done. It's just fun to read and suspends reality for a while. Well I say suspends reality... James really looks into the notion of co-incidences in the novel and just how weird and strange they actually can be, not to mention just how dangerous...
Summary: A supernatural story from the thriller./crime writer.