Carl takes a tour of the horrific and the supernatural in Lucas Hault’s gripping novel The Devil’s Whispers
Anyone who knows me or reads some of my articles knows I love the horror genre. There is something brilliant about having yourself scared out of your wits. I honestly believe that the horror genre taps into all of our primal fears and brings them to life. And once they are exposed, they remain in our subconscious but no longer manifest themselves in our daily lives. But it isn’t only movies that draw these fears out. Many novels do the same. And again, there is nothing like being on the edge of your seat, sometimes being afraid of turning the page. You feel something is coming that will scare you. But you can’t help yourself. And it allows the reader to visualize what is happening on the printed page in their minds. And that is what scares you.
I have to admit, I hadn’t heard of Lucas Hault before. He is a gothic horror novelist and screenwriter. He has also written and created a series of short horror films. And he resides in Ranchi in India. And I must say I’ve done the man an injustice. As I was reading his novel ‘The Devil’s Whispers’, I found myself drawn into his intricate web of mystery and horror like a moth to a flame. I found myself so wrapped up in this gothic story that I couldn’t wait to discover what would happen next. And I was disappointed when it ended.
THE DEVIL’S WHISPERS
The setup is quite simple. A famed British lawyer has been summoned to an ancient, creepy Welsh Castle. It is here where he and we will begin our journey. The Lawyer, Gerard Woodward is required to assist the dying lord of the manor with his final affairs before he passes on. But he strangely finds himself locked in his room for most of the days he spends inside the castle walls. His only contact is with the butler, Jared. A man who scares Woodward with his appearance and his ways. Jared tends to Woodward by bringing him his meals.
The lawyer is only allowed out occasionally to speak with his client, Lord Ferdinand Elvin Mathers regarding his final wishes. He has contact with Mathers’ daughter, Helena who despairs over her father and his impending demise. But she is also the spitting image of a blonde woman Woodward saw in a forest near the castle on his journey there.
Strange goings-on begins to happen during Woodward’s stay in the castle. Eerie sounds, fierce yellow eyes. And the locking of his door for most hours. But Woodward discovers a way out of his room that he takes in his need to investigate what is happening in the castle. He manages this despite succumbing to ill health. A lack of sleep, thanks to some horrendous nightmares. A drain on his body that saps his strength and his mental faculties. At times, Woodward believes he is going to die. And joined with the shock of Mathers’ body being on the brink of death one day and then full of health the next, the mystery deepens. Only when Mathers descends into the castle’s dungeons and discovers a terrible secret does the fog of mystery begin to be pierced.
Meanwhile, back in London, Woodward’s fiancee, Raelyn is having her own unique and weird happenings. Meeting an old, bedraggled man one day, he tells her that he is a curse on all who displease him or attempt to cheat him. He claims his will alone caused the deaths of several people who he believes cheated him out of finances due. And that a former partner met a grisly end after conspiring with pirates to rob him of his goods.
His rude manner startles Raelyn, causing her to try and steer clear of him. Raelyn’s cousin has come to visit her while Gerard is away. But even he displays some strange behavior. Where once they were close, he seems determined to push Raelyn away, to see her as an enemy. When a creature begins to stalk the night, savaging animals it comes into contact with, we realize that Woodward and Raelyn’s events are linked. And that the terror has just begun.
The story the book tells is accomplished through journal entries, letters, and correspondence between all the main protagonists. It is told in the first person from the first page. Usually, this kind of writing style isn’t how I prefer to read my books. But here, it feels exactly right. The writings come across sometimes as if we, the reader have our heads engrossed in a classic horror novel. Something along the lines of ‘Dracula‘ and ‘Frankenstein.’ At least one of these books used the format that is used here. But it is to the novel’s advantage to use this style. And makes for an enthralling read from the start. The reader is drawn into the mystery, compelled to read on. And becomes desperate to discover the truth of where the story of the book is going and how it will be resolved by the final passage.
Although this isn’t Lucas Hault’s first novel, it is the first book of his that I have read. And I’m really glad I did. It is a good old-fashioned horror story, a throwback if you will to some of those classic titles I spoke of earlier. And I found myself hooked with it. On many occasions, I thought I knew where the story would go and how it would be resolved. And on some parts, I was correct. On others, it pulled the rug out from under me and went in directions I never expected. And that is what made the novel so enjoyable to read. Don’t let the short length of the book put you off (it is 229 pages long.)
Every page is crammed full of the written word, enough to make a 400-page novel if separated. And every line, every sentence must be read and understood to get the full effect from the words on the page. I shall certainly be buying more titles by Lucas Hault after reading this novel. My advice is to sit back and read what he has written. And to let your imagination take you back to the early twentieth century and into a classic horror tale that you will certainly enjoy.
‘The Devil’s Whispers’ by Lucas Hault is published by TCK Publishing and is available to buy now!
Feel the Force on Social Media.
Carl Roberts is the News Editor of The Future of the Force. Aside from being our horror genre aficionado, he is also passionate about Star Wars, Marvel, DC, and the Indiana Jones movies. Follow him on Twitter where he uses the force frequently!