By Glenn Rolfe
Matt Shaw Publications
The Bruton Inn is site to the most horrific of tragedies between two feral girls rebelling against society. Now more than thirty years later the staff and guests at the ordinarily quaint yet rustic hotel are hapless prey to the supernatural forces that lurk within the shadows and four walls. With the help of an author/shaman the surviving staff vie to stand up to the evil forces unleashed. Will good ultimately prevail evil? Or will they forever be lost in purgatory among the Haunted Halls?
I have had the sincere pleasure and thrill of reading a handful of novels penned by Glenn Rolfe. Even more than the sheer literary fulfillment is to call Mr. Rolfe, friend, colleague and peer. With each release his endeavors come out more polished and terror pristine. It is evident Glenn is a consummate fan of the genre, studies his craft well and is always looking for new and innovative ways to captivate an audience.
Haunted Halls is no exception for this author’s evolutionary prowess. It takes only few pages to realize we’re onto an expose of righteousness within verses the vulnerable in evil personified. Rolfe drafts an effective subtext to daunt upon even the most impervious of sub consciousness.
It is impressive to witness the author’s style continue to develop. Often as novice writers becoming comfortable within their own skin and thought processes, it is reflective to tell a third person point of view story that comes across as more of a news report than a story to invest in. It is only natural to adopt this folly even if we don’t realize we’re doing it. Void of any emotion or character development, the reader by and large feels isolated and will ultimately reject any plot escalation. Rolfe however has finely tuned his show rather than tell techniques. Character emotions are reflective along with instincts and cognitive processes. As a result a sense of empathy is enhanced making Haunted Halls a certified page turner.
Exposition is always a touchy thing. Being forced to look at the past often is for many of us. The author manages to drift the story from 1983 to present but only beckons the reader to return to the past when absolutely necessary to the movement of the plot. Not a great deal of backstory is ever really required. Rolfe should be commended for engaging his reading audience on a consistent basis.
In prior reading adventures with Rolfe at the helm I could not deny the mesmerizing number of characters introduced within such a relative brief page count. Some readers with attention issues may have difficulty keeping one straight from another. Yet the author manages to create realistic qualities, attributes and fallacies within each individual, enhancing a sense of authenticity. No minor feat, the author keeps the people interesting and intriguing, with a complex plot development. Multi-layers exist keeping us invested right until the final gripping climax.
Some notable highlights without unveiling plot spoilers include the haunting imagery of Sarah’s abilities that are inspired within the mind. The chaos that ensues at the Bruton Inn’s swimming pool is trippy and swimmy, the sort of thing that inspires countless sleepless nights. The sexual content is raw and primal, an allure into the subconscious to even the most prim and proper of readers.
Rolfe’s affection for rock music comes shining through with references to the supernatural. His work is often indicative of how much he cares about his reading audience. A writer that is still enamoured with what he does, is a writer that is cementing his legacy long into horror’s future.