Family drama with a touch of magic, Witchopper delves into the darkness that people bring upon themselves.
Richard, his wife Jane and fifteen year old son Rob move out of London into a sleepy village in order to save their rapidly crumbling family. Unfortunately, Richard hasn’t changed his ways and Rob falls foul of vicious bullying at the local school. Two fallen men, they both suffer the curse of the Witchopper. With a local dementia patient begging them to save the witch, and haunted by horrible visions, can father and son break the curse before Mary Hooper comes for them?
This is an ambitious novel. The theme is sex, and there’s lots of it, although not in an erotic way. There’s Rob and fellow classmate Julia’s budding sexuality. Danny’s shame and sublimation about sex. Richard’s insatiable sexual appetite. Betrayal, obsession, shame, rape, sexual mutilation. This book has it all.
Linked with all this sex is the old ways of the land, a kind of nature magic with the greenman at the centre. There is a lot of commentary on folklore and religious beliefs, which is all interesting stuff.
At the heart of the novel is a revenge ghost story, which follows along the lines of all revenge ghost stories. Vile tortures are perpetuated against an innocent and vulnerable victim and they wreck horrible death upon unwitting folk for decades to come.
I’m not a fan of the revenge ghost trope, and Soule has not changed my mind. However, his writing is compelling and his descriptions of the people and the countryside conjure a realistic town plagued by poisonous entities.
Perhaps the most disturbing part of the book is the stalking, betrayal and bullying that takes place between the teen characters. Soule creates realistic scenarios that are all the more chilling because I’ve known real life counterparts.
The damage that infidelity does not only to marriage but to parent and child relationships is also well crafted and shown with a truthful, yet humane touch.
Perhaps the most accomplished of Soule’s novels, it is also my least favorite. I would have preferred more magic and less sex, but it doesn’t take away that Witchopper conveys very well what it sets out to say. There is no chaff in this book, which is commendable as it’s almost 500 pages.
I award Witchopper…
Witchopper is available for $3.95 ebook and $12.99 print book on Amazon.
For the next few days you can get all three books in an ebook box set for only $0.99 on Amazon. It’s too good of an offer to pass up!