Friday, 4 May 2018

Medium Wave by Rose Zolock

Becky Moran has built a career claiming to talk to the dead. A successful clairvoyant medium, a Cambridge graduate with her own radio show ‘Medium Wave’ and a team dedicated to crafting the celebrity myth – because Becky Moran is a fake. Until, one night, something supernatural, inexplicable, breaks through live on air as she is broadcasting. Becky Moran discovers the paranormal is real, the dead can indeed speak and she is being pursued relentlessly towards a battle for her very survival.


Here, Becky experiences direct contact with what is pursuing her…

      ‘We are here.’
      Becky hears them.
      The cacophony of noise is now all around her. She is absorbing that rotting smell, sweetly decaying, the stench of rotting flesh, fly-blown and ancient. It is the smell of the charnel house, the plague pit, the foul odour of the ditch where the executed are thrown, then to be doused in quicklime, their broken bodies foaming as they are covered by the very soil they removed as they dug their own graves.
      The tunnel is expanding now. But there is no circle of light ahead. Becky is now suspended where the very contours of space are undulating. It is a place of shadows with no visible light, just a pall of dim, red dullness accentuating the shifting shapes all around her. It is as if the matrix of reality is being corrupted.
      ‘We are here, we are here, and we are here.’ The voices have become a demonic chant, a choir of primordial voices, the many blending as one. The voices chant as the deep thrum, thrum, thrum becomes louder. Becky watches the floor shape-shifting beneath her, aware that her physical body is weightless. The red tinge deepens, expands, and contracts in time with the thrum, thrum, thrum.
      The stench makes the air sticky and thick. There had been such a sense of peace and of lightness before when that glass sphere was in front of her. Now her being, her humanity, is being eradicated. She feels the fabric of this desolation wrapping itself around her, seeping through her skin and crawling under her fingernails, caressing her feet almost like the touch of a lover, steady, silky, beguiling.
      The choir chants its evil anthem louder, relentlessly. Her senses are locked into the thrum, thrum, thrum, accompanied by that hypnotic throb of the dull redness, with the shadows growing darker. She thinks she can see shapes in the shadows. It is as if they are waiting, moving nearer when the red pall recedes and holding back when it returns.
Becky knows they are here for her. They have always been here. Waiting.
      Now, she is being enveloped by something with a hunger, a deep hunger. She watches a shadow begin to push through the shifting floor, stretching the surface under her feet as if it is a rotting membrane. The mucous surface, organic, a thin embryonic sac, is being pushed, stretched, elasticised by a force that is determined to rip it, push it aside, split it open.
      Black strands of shadow break through, rising slowly. It is unlike the sly shapes around her in this space, which are hiding and indistinct, almost as if they are being kept under control. Becky sees this shadow rise like a dictator, a king, a commander, from below. It builds upwards, indistinct at first, an obscuration of form hewn out of darkness. The choir’s voices become faster, frantic. Becky watches, fear blocking any thought process. Her soul is to be drawn from her. This shape-shifting, amorphous dark mass will absorb her.
      ‘We are here,’ chants the choir, faster and faster. Strands of darkness fly out from the shape that is gathering form in front of her. Shards of the ripped membrane – curling, dead, shrivelled – fall to the floor.
      This thing has no defined shape. Whatever energy exists within it, it cannot settle on a shape. The strands of darkness curl out and then wrap back inwards. The bulk of the shadow becomes concave, then bulbous, the height building in on itself but lacking any skeletal structure to wrap itself around. There are no eyes, no clearly defined head shape. It is creating itself from darkness, like a swirl of ebony ink dropped into a vat of putrid water, spreading silently.
      Then Becky sees, as the dark form undulates in front of her, that open red maw of a mouth, the teeth, sharp and white and dripping, dear God, dripping and glistening in the gloom.

My Review:

Medium Wave is an enjoyable book from Rose Zolock, with elements of both paranormal and horror. Hard to believe that this is her first book, it was definitely a page turner and hard to put down.

We join 'fake' medium and radio show host, Becky Moran, as she touches an historical supernatural artefact which turns her life upside down.

Her friends and colleagues find it hard to believe that she can really talk to the dead, and are less than helpful as she struggles to deal with her new-found gift, and the darkness that threatens to overwhelm her.

The characters are reasonably well fleshed out, and I hope they continue to develop and grow as the series continues.

Medium Wave is well written, with a descriptive narrative, and skips along at good pace. There is a satisfying ending, which makes a good standalone read, with one thread left open to leave you wanting the next book in the series.

About Rose Zolock:

Her Irish grandmother first told Rose about the Banshee when she was just a small child. How the wailing sound of the spirit of the dead and dying could be heard when someone was about to pass.
It was family folklore that the women in the family had ‘the touch’, the ability to see spirits and other dimensions. Rose listened and grew up fascinated by those who claimed to have supernatural or psychic abilities.

Rose does not claim to have those powers. Take her to Venice in February when the mist swirls over the canals, walk by her side along the darkened streets of Greenwich Village in New York City in high summer, listening to a ghost walk tour guide tell the stories of death, murder and the unexplained – Rose would say those stories and our belief in them gives her a power to see into the shadows within our imagination.

As a journalist, Rose takes every opportunity to explore and investigate strange stories, myth and folklore. Living in rural Yorkshire, with a rich library of ghost stories and literary tradition, Rose also has a sceptical and forensic insight into those who peddle the stories which feed our imagination but of which we have yet found no proof. She has listened to the debunkers who argue against those believers who are convinced that sand the dark side exist.

Rose’s mind is open. Is yours?

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