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The Holocaust Opera is a fast-paced thriller ...
The Holocaust Opera is a fast-paced thriller that will leave you breathless with wonder and possibilities.
Posted February 3, 2006
The Holocaust Opera, with its two novellas and seven shorter works, is an emotionally and psychologically driven thrill ride. The way in which the author embraces such evocative and distinctive themes, words and descriptions, are poetic and eerily seductive. Mr. Hall pens a story like one who has walked this world many times over, returning with vast wisdom, experience, and at the same time a seer of what is yet to come. Each story will leave you with a chill down your back, and a newfound concern for the sounds you¿ve been pretending that you haven¿t heard. Relentless with where he takes you, the author cleverly pushes you closer to the edge, until you get lost in the beautiful madness of his creations. I enjoyed each offering, but have chosen to write about the ones that affected me the most. The Haunting of Sam Cabot is one of the two novellas in this collection and it honestly had me on pins and needles. Sam Cabot returns to a place of great evil and painful memories after ten years. The secrets inside the house still haunt him, from when he and his wife bought the old house and restored it. Even though so much time has passed, he still can¿t forget the sinister looking furnace that drew him to it each and every night, a furnace that when touched felt like flesh. If you have ever read the warning signs before getting on a fast roller coaster at an amusement park, I swear those rules apply to this story as well. Plenty of twists and turns, and it will raise your heart rate. The Manor is a unique story told from John L. Tittleman¿s perspective as he relates in his journal on the strange happenings from the Ellis Manor. John¿s whole reason for coming to the manor is in hopes of speaking with Captain Ellis himself, who was part of a voyage on the questionable ship, Witchcraft. With the blend of history and legend-like horror, the author wields an exhilarating and unsettling tale. BugShot is one of those stories that just plain disturb. Herb, an aging farmer, has a fear of wasps. For unknown reasons ¿ he blames the ozone ¿ there seems to be a wasp epidemic going on around his barn. Herb tries to remedy the situation with a new kind of bug spray called BugShot. Pleased with the environment-friendly label and somewhat intoxicating aroma, he thinks he has outsmarted the pesky insects. Unfortunately, told in a morbidly entertaining way, Herb isn¿t entirely correct. My Leona is a subtle horror story laced with both erotic and creepy elements. Each night, Harold dreams about a younger, fantasy version of his now aging wife in all her flawless perfection. As soon as he wakes up, an incessant sound of scraping metal comes from below the house. His wife insists it is the sound of rats and nags him to take care of it. What he finds would drive anyone mad. Swift but potent, The Nest is a story that keeps playing through my mind over and over again. In a small town, babies are disappearing at night from their cribs without a trace. One father tries to take matters into his own hands. Fearful of what it could mean, he observes a large birds nest set in an old pine tree that suddenly appeared when the disappearances started. The second novella of the collection, The Holocaust Opera paints a macabre setting of a singer seeking out a troubled artist whose music stirs up unfathomable and disturbing images. I found this story fascinating and almost painful in a bittersweet way. The melodic words and descriptions used in this story will have you turning the pages quickly. After reviewing his first novel, The Lost Village, I have eagerly waited for more works by Mr. Hall, and not only did this collection satisfy my craving, but it solidified to me what a strong force he is in the writing world. His visions and ability to put to paper what some of us only imagine, shows true talent and a gift for not being afraid to share what goes on his head. If you haven¿t been to The Holocaust Opera lately, be
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Posted September 14, 2011
Mark Edward Hall's 'The Holocaust Opera' is a novella that will imprint images upon your mind, so familiar (unless you've been living under a rock) and so terrible it will leave you reeling. Effortless narration propels the reader towards a metaphysical welding of historical horror and supernatural terror. The characters brim with life and seem to leap off the page as Hall shifts character POV to impart the individual horror of the main protagonists, Roxanne Templeton and Jeremiah Gideon. As the title implies, 'The Holocaust Opera' is primarily a story centered on the horror of the Holocaust and the profound ability of music to impart emotion and ultimately, human response. The way Hall writes about music and his obvious talent in composing a great tale, much in the same way as a great song is composed, makes this a true symphony of horror fiction.
I have read quite a few stories dealing with the holocaust and the death camps and Mr. Hall's is one of the best fictional renditions of the horrors of that terrible era. I couldn't help thinking of Viktor E. Frankl's memoir, `Man's Search for Meaning,' as I read Hall's descriptions of the terrible conditions and the fear imparted by the Nazi death camp regime. Evidence of the philosophical and moral depths Mr. Hall has traversed and his ability to take the reader to very real and frightening places. There are many levels to this novella and like Frankl's classic work, as I read I found myself questioning my own limited knowledge and understanding of what happened during the holocaust. Maybe I am reading too much into this profound story, but I don't think so. There's some deep scary stuff going on here!
This grim novella will have the reader on the edge of their seat `til the climatic finish. Surprises abound and the story rumbles along at a mighty pace - I finished this in one sitting and was left wanting more. Just as I thought `The Holocaust Opera' was a brilliantly constructed piece of suspenseful historical fiction, Hall subtly introduces various metaphysical and supernatural conceits that spin this profound story off into the world of Horror, both real and imagined.
See J. Chambers Amazon Review for a succinct and insightful breakdown of the novella and the brilliant introduction by Vince A Liaguno ().
Posted March 31, 2011
Tragically beautiful, Mark Hall's Holocaust Opera was a powerful read from beginning to end. The narrative flows well, and the pace of the novel couldn't be better. I would defiantly recommend this story to other readers, especially those who enjoy a little supernatural thrill or a little 'bump-in-the-night' fiction. The Holocaust Opera put little goosebumps on my skin while I was reading it, which for a book is hard to do.
Loved it, from start to finish.
Posted September 10, 2006
Mark Edward Hall hits another bull¿s eye with his follow-up to the terrifying 'The Lost Village'. In this collection of two novellas and seven short stories, Hall proves that he knows what scares us and is relentless in his quest to do so. The characters that populate this thoroughly readable story collection straddle the line between sanity and madness and remind us of just how fine that line really is. Standouts include the unnerving 'The Nest', which will have readers taking nervous second notice of those ubiquitous bird¿s nests that spring up in trees all around us, and the titular novella which haunts long after the final page. Hall has an uncanny knack for blending vivid, almost poetic prose with visceral images of jaw-dropping horror to great effect.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.