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Posted December 16, 2009
The Haunting of Sam Cabot By Mark Edward Hall Review by Cyrus Wraith Walker
What scares us is how close to the surface horror stories like The Haunting of Sam Cabot brings us concerning things we choose not to allow in our cognitive awareness.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
The realization of how we deal with, deny, ignore, and suppress fear, loss, death, or change, and how those things just might be the consequences of our own decisions or simply our feelings of guilt derived for taking responsibility for those things.
The fabric has always been about suppression, and Mark Edward Hall serves a good dish. You cannot serve in the armed forces and a war as Mark did without being spoon-fed tons of things that you are expected to suppress, ordered to suppress, and things that you cannot bear--even of your own fruition--to let to the surface because to do so would challenge ones sanity. We are a repressive/suppressive society. We are trained to do so from birth.
Is Cabot a ghost story, or a story of madness? Does the presence of ghosts or supernatural phenomena in one's life materialize because we cannot find a scientific explanation or a psychological explanation to use as evidence to continue wearing the false mask of reality we wear when suppressing truth? The answer is yes, just in case you didn't know, however, for those that are permanently gone there is no recognition only "REALITY" you know, but the reality we build is usually a tool to keep what we have repressed suppressed. The Haunting of Sam Cabot makes us horribly aware that that is exactly what it is! Ghosts or spiritual phenomena then are as real as the psychological or scientific evidence we concoct along with our spiritual or other belief systems. Monsters do exist. Why, because, we must have evidence! We must suppress the truth! The truth will kill us, so we will become preachers, scientists, and psychologists, and we will attend Mass and counseling sessions, and get that diagnosis from the experts because we must not get to close to . . . the TRUTH!
In an interview with yours truly Mark spoke of how stories such as I am Legend, as well as the works of Poe, H.P. Lovecraft, and show like The Twilight Zone, and The Outer Limits, spoke to him, telling him more about the human condition than what society as a whole feeds us. The author does a fantastic job at bringing that to the surface.
The book fits nicely into the psychological/supernatural form of the horror genre. It fulfills expectation when we realize that reality is not necessarily the truth but a fabrication to be used to keep what we have repressed in suppression. Because of this the story fulfills the purpose of the genre. The Haunting of Sam Cabot would make an excellent screenplay.
This book is intended for an audience of young adult and up. It is by far repugnant in any way but rightfully has a rating of three by the publisher Damnation Books for Sex and Violence.
Mark's colloquial informal style makes the story and the reader comfortable enough with the characters to identify intimately with them. He then uses this advantage as a tool to stir up doubts in the readers mind about a character causing a sense of distance or something not right. Like a movie director manipulating diegesis leading the viewer to infer things before hand, so does this technique appear in Marks style.
Even though the story draws heavily on other stories such as The Shining and The Amityville Horror, it does so to develop our expectations in order to present a surprising twist.