The Voices

‘Inviting comparisons to Stephen King’s classic The Shining … a genuine page-turner.’   Kirkus Reviews

‘Recommended for fans of thrillers in the gothic tradition, such as Ira Levin’s Rosemary’s Baby and Shirley Jackson’s work.’   Starred Review: Library Journal

‘Tallis is a master of his craft, and every twist, every drawn-out moment of risk and threat, every terrible unavoidable step toward disaster is immaculately scripted’.   Kingdon Books

‘grim and ultimately horrific .. guaranteed to rise the hair on the back of your neck’    Publisher’s Weekly

‘Set in the ’70s, this is sophisticated creep, spellbinding and sinister, but it’s also about a marriage in decay and a house that’s encouraging it.’   Minneapolis Star Tribune’s best mysteries/thriller of 2014

‘Tallis .. is a master of psychological suspense, and this novel, which reaches its climax during the London heat wave of 1976, is utterly gripping’.   Michele Leber, Booklist

‘A well-crafted tale of terror that will entertain as well as chill your bones’.   Matthew Johns, The British Fantasy Society Book Reviews

‘Highly compelling, undeniably scary, with a final payoff so horrific it’s hard to shake …’    Rosie Fletcher, SFX

‘F.R.Tallis is still head and shoulders above the rest in his niche ..’

‘Superbly written .. Relentless in its ability to pile on the chills.’

‘The Voices is a great read. Try it and I guarantee you will be tempted to pass it straight on to a friend or loved one telling them how much they will also enjoy it. Please resist this urge, rather, convince them to buy a copy for themselves. We have to give this fine author a reason to write more like it.’   Forbidden Planet international

‘ .. a 1970s Ira Levin-esque tale of troubled relationships and supernatural whisperings .. Tallis really captures the feel of the era.’   Jill McDole –

‘As insightful as it is exciting, The Voices is very impressive … more than yet another haunted house novel.’    Niall alexander, Tor.Com

‘The Voices downright gave me the heebie jeebies … Some of the routes Tallis takes his readers down were so unexpected that they caught me completely unaware.’   CJ.Dee Dark Matter zine

‘The Voices is an utterly engrossing tale that is ever so creepy in places …. full of chills and thrills. The ending’s climax is faultless…’   Fiction Fascination

‘The Voices takes haunted houses to a completely different level.’   Jenn’s bookshelves

‘ … undeniably hair-raising.’    Pages of Julia

‘Not for the faint of heart.’   Anita Loves Books

‘… ticks the three fundamental boxes of the horror genre; it’s gripping, it’s intense and it’s oh so chilling.’   Grace Ellerby, Highgate Handbook

Once you’ve heard them, you’ll never forget them . . .

In the scorching summer of 1976 – the hottest since records began – Christopher Norton, his wife Laura and their young daughter Faye settle into their new home in north London. The faded glory of the Victorian house is the perfect place for Norton, a composer of film soundtracks, to build a recording studio of his own.
But soon in the long, oppressively hot nights, Laura begins to hear something through the crackle of the baby monitor. First, a knocking sound. Then come the voices . . .

Haunting technology: Some thoughts on 20th century ghosts

 Electronic voice phenomena or EVP are human utterances picked up by recording devices and supposed by many to be communications from the dead. I’ve always been interested in this area of paranormal research, not because I believe that the dead are in the habit of leaving us taped messages, but because it represents a curious but satisfying marriage of new and old: the new being modern technology and the old being ghosts. Technological explorations of the paranormal seem to lend scientific legitimacy to phenomena that would otherwise be dismissed as purely imaginary and this is very appealing for those of us who spin yarns about the supernatural. The most challenging aspect of writing supernatural fiction is maintaining suspension of disbelief. Scientific proof – even when it appears in a novel – is usually very persuasive. Cameras and tape recorders don’t tell lies (or at least that is what we have a tendency to think). A single blurry image of a spectral presence is worth a thousand sworn testimonies; likewise, a talkative spirit captured on tape. A ghost that has been objectified by technology is altogether more convincing and subsequently a great deal more frightening.

Thomas Edison – the inventor of the phonograph – speculated on how electronic recording devices might be used to communicate with spirits; however, it wasn’t until 1952 that the voice of a dead man was officially recorded for the first time. A priest working on a recording of Gregorian chants at the Catholic University of Milan was surprised to hear (in addition to the chanting) the voice of his deceased father. The Pope of the day, Pious XII, believed that a new era of scientific study had begun that would result in definitive proof being found for the church’s teachings on life after death. Since the 1950s numerous researchers have recorded discarnate voices.  Interest in EVP probably peaked in the 1970s, when a Latvian psychologist and philosopher called Konstantin Raudive published a book called ‘Breakthrough’ which contained numerous transcripts of messages from beyond the grave. His work was endorsed by many distinguished scholars and reached a large international audience. Today, the term Instrumental Trans-Communication (or ITC) is preferred to EVP, as it refers to spirit communication through any electrical device, rather than just those specifically used for recording.

Ghosts are incredibly versatile. Indeed, they are as versatile as the human imagination (which I am inclined to believe is their ultimate point of origin). They re-invent themselves for every age, adapting constantly to new technologies. It’s only a matter of time before ghosts discover how to haunt the Apps on our iPhones and, once again, the ghost story will have demonstrated its remarkable capacity for renewal.


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