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by Jonathan Aycliffe
Allison and Busby, March 2004
288 pages
ISBN: 0749006870

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

I've read several books by this writer under his pen name, Daniel Easterman, so I knew I was in for a good time. I was not disappointed. A GARDEN LOST IN TIME has all the ingredients of a classic ghost tale, complete with an atmospheric English estate with dark and bloody roots to the past, innocent youth in peril and, yes, sex.

Sex and the grisly ugliness of horror are nicely presented and underplayed-techniques which serve only to heighten the feeling of fear and sense of creepy debauchery. In lesser hands this would have been a mess and probably boring, but Aycliffe's deft touch kept me pleased and frightened through the entire novel.

The beauty of the writing alone would make this work worthy of being read regardless of the content. Aycliffe is a writer in whose hands a discerning reader can relax, knowing that no matter where he takes one the journey will be worthwhile.

I wasn't quite as happy with the presentation in the form of diary entries and letters, especially since some were 'written' by the dead or soon-to-be-dead and the gathering of all of them into one manuscript struck me as unlikely. In a tale of supernatural evil the less the suspension of disbelief is challenged the better, in my opinion. I would have preferred to have read this story in standard third person, past tense prose.

One last complaint: as he has often done in his Easterman novels, Aycliffe brings out the final, more or less complete explanation of Why All These Awful Things Have Happened in a quickie appearance of and dialogue from one of the victims. Not very satisfying. Nevertheless I recommend the book unreservedly.

Reviewed by Sharon Brondos, March 2004

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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