Jessica Newman's tragic childhood has come back to haunt her. Her father, a Catholic deacon she hasn't seen since he was found not guilty of her mother's death during an exorcism ritual, has turned up dead in Scotland, with a wound to the head.Forced to take her family to Scotland and deal with her father's estate a derelict mansion in the Grampian Ranges. Jessica begins to question her mother's death and what role her father played in it.The house and its dark basement could provide more answers than she bargained for.
Two-time international Bram Stoker Award-nominee®*, Greg Chapman is a horror author and artist based in Queensland, Australia.
Greg is the author of several novels, novellas and short stories, including his award-nominated debut novel, Hollow House (Omnium Gatherum) and collections, Vaudeville and Other Nightmares (Specul8 Publishing) and This Sublime Darkness and Other Dark Stories (Things in the Well Publications).
He is also a horror artist and his first graphic novel Witch Hunts: A Graphic History of the Burning Times, (McFarland & Company) written by authors Rocky Wood and Lisa Morton, won the Superior Achievement in a Graphic Novel category at the Bram Stoker Awards® in 2013.
He was also the President of the Australasian Horror Writers Association from 2017-2020.
* Superior Achievement in a First Novel for Hollow House (2016) and Superior Achievement in Short Fiction, for “The Book of Last Words” (2019)
The story alternates between two-time frames. One is in the past during Jessica Newman’s childhood and another in the present when she is a grown-up woman, married and with a kid. The whole story is about Jessica’s childhood and how she suffered the death of her mother during an exorcism her Catholic deacon father has performed. Was her father guilty of murder or was her mother truly possessed? Jessica finds the truth when her father passes away leaving her the mansion she grew up in. She needs to travel there and has to face all her fears yet again!
A part of the story was predictable and another part of it surprised me. Overall I enjoyed reading it. It had all the elements making it a fun read for the season. The characters were fleshed out for a short story and the writing is quite good. This is horror and there are some violent scenes so be aware of that. I haven’t read anything by Greg Chapman before but will be looking for more books by him in the future. I think this will be a good read especially if you are looking for a story where there are doubts about whether the character is possessed or has a mental illness.
Jessica's mother dies due to an exorcism. Now her father died. Together with her husband and son she flies over to Scotland where here father lived for the last 20 years. They never met again after the tragedy with her mother. Was she really obsessed with a demon? What about her father? Why is MacKinnon Manor so spooky and where did Alex go (her son)? The story is often close to take off but in the end doesn't fully convince me. The clergyman would have deserved an eerier appearance. The demon isn't as striking as it could be. At parts it felt like a travesty. But I had to read the novella until the very end. The author has potential and his Hollow House novel was exceptional!
I read this book in one sitting, because I didn't have a choice: it gripped me from the beginning and wouldn't let me go.
Greg Chapman tackles the subject of demons, hauntings and evil with vividness and with an increasing sense of unease.
Torment follows the story of Jessica Newman, a woman who lost her mother when she was a child during an exorcism. Jessica travels back to her family home to uncover the truth behind her mother's death and her father's sinister secrets.
Torment is full of dark, creepy moments... it has a way of crawling under your skin and unsettling you. There were certainly a few moments where I found myself feeling uneasy.
Based on this book, I'd definitely be interested in reading more from Greg Chapman. He has done a wonderful job with Torment and I recommend it.
Published by Damnation Books, Torment is a first time novella by Australian author and AWHA member Greg Chapman.
As a young child, Jessica witnesses the murder of her mother at the hands of her devout father in an exorcism gone wrong. He escapes prosecution and returns to his native Scotland and Jessica is left in the hands of relatives.
Fast forward 25 years and Jessica, in an attempt to lay to rest her childhood demons, travels to Scotland to settle her father’s estate. Jessica must come to to terms with the monster she pictures juxtaposed against a devout and kindly gentlemen the village people saw her father as. What awaits Jessica,however, is a test of faith, as her family’s lives and her own sanity is put on the line.
What I liked
Chapman makes good use of flashbacks to the days after the death of her mother in order to quickly generate empathy for the protagonist and to set the tone for the rest of the piece. We are led to believe that her father was a madman, unable to handle his wife’s mental illness.
I also liked the scene where her son, alone in one of the rooms in the mansion, is contacted by an entity through his iPod. This was the only part in the book that I began to get a slight chill. Perhaps it’s to do with the use of the modern/technical by the spirit world, the invasion of our safe, ordered, structured world in such a subtle way that gave me a shiver.
Some slight annoyances
Perhaps I have watched too many episodes of Escape to the Country or Grand Designs, but I was thrown immediately by the mansion being described as having wooden steps leading up to the main door(I’m fairly sure that Scottish Mansions of built in the 1850’s would have had stone or slate steps). A small thing, perhaps, but then in a novella it’s important to get small things right when you are trying to establish a certain ambiance. This and a few other ill fitting word choices niggled at me.
I have spent a couple of days considering this piece to determine if its had a fairly hard run against my own biases. I’m both an atheist and a skeptic, which while it doesn’t rule out my enjoyment of theologically based horror fiction, it does mean that the work has to be a bit unpredictable, or do the unexpected for it to tap into my psyche and give me a jolt. I found the ending a little cliché – Jessica is saved by her faith, all she has to do is pray really hard. With my biases firmly in mind then I find that Torment is good stock standard ghost/possession story with some promising passages. I’ll be keeping an eye on Greg Chapman.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
A great horror novella by Greg Chapman is Torment. Jessica Newman has just found out that she has inherited her father's Scottish Mansion. She leaves America with her son and husband to Scotland in hopes of selling the mansion and putting her past behind her once and for all. Her father was a Catholic Deacon and when Sarah was young he was found guilty of killing her mother while performing an exorcism on her. Going to Scotland brings back some haunting memories for Sarah and in the basement of the mansion lies something evil that will change everything that Sarah believes.
Torment is a tale of good versus evil, coming to terms with the past, conquering your fears and having faith. Sarah is a woman who lives in fear and relies on her husband for everything, she has had some horrible things happen to her and has lost her faith. I enjoyed how Sarah changes in the story and I also liked how her son goes from a kid with a bad attitude to trying to be a hero.
Torment is an excellent supernatural horror tale. The atmosphere is spooky and I thought all the characters were excellent. I love the idea of a ghost making contact through an ipod and all the scenes in the basement were chilling. The best part of the story was the battle scene in the cellar at the end, when all truths are revealed. As I was reading it, I kept thinking that this would make an excellent horror movie. No doubt about it Greg Chapman knows how to tell a great horror story.
This book is brilliant!! The author captured the essence of murder through a child's eyes to the grief, anger, hurt and resentment manifested when carried through as an adult unresolved. The inter-play between the argument of mental illness or demonic posession is superbly done, leaving the reader in a state of subjective ambiguity and suspense throughout the book. The description of mental illness, hidden carefully in conversations and descriptions of actions is very well researched and portrayed in its purest form, not stereotypical form, which really enriches the book and makes you grip onto each word to try to discover if your suspicions are correct.
I love how the central characters are very real and as a woman, I can really identify with the main character as a child and as an adult.
The horror/suspense aspects of the book, were pretty scary to say the least. One particular part is pretty gruesome and I just didn't see it coming - it certainly is a heartstopping sickening OMG moment!!
The ending of the book is really well done and it has room for more to be written and if that happened I would be first in the queue to buy it.
Jessica Newman returns to the derelict Scottish mansion where she spent her early years to sort out her late father's estate. She is forced to confront the legacy of her mother's death during an exorcism ritual, and what role her father might have played in it. But what she finds in the house, in its basement, is more horrifying than she could ever expect, and may claim her as well.
Greg Chapman tells a gripping story that starts out slow and creepy while introducing and fleshing out the characters. It then grows violent and intense, with several bloody, visceral passages that are all the more gripping due to the care taken early on with the character development. (There are a number of movies and books that I wish would take such care!) It's a short novella that can easily be devoured in a single sitting, one I think fans of supernatural horror will enjoy.
This was a great story, but the ending just took me out of it. I thought the lead up to the finale was terrific. Chapman is a great writer, but the ending was just too much for me. Overall, I'm going to give this one three stars. I'm going to have to read more by Greg Chapman. He's great with words and can tell a story. I just didn't like the ending in this one.
This book grabs you by the throat from the first sentence and compels the reader to keep reading until the end. scary haunting wrenching horror stories are few and far between, but Greg Chapman is going to change that! but beware! youll need to leave the lights on....
I "met" Greg Chapman on Facebook a while back. At first I just thought he did artwork. I then found out about his writing.
I immediately ordered Torment without knowing a thing about it. I purposely avoided reading reviews or even the synopsis.
First, the one negative - it was too short. Greg could have easily made this into a full length novel. But that doesn't mean he short changed the story.
Other than that, it was phenomenal ! A ghost story mixed with a haunted house led to me reading it in one sitting.
There were times during the story that I was wondering, "Is this happening? Or is Jessica losing her mind? Is the torment of being in her dad's house playing mind games with her or is something more sinister at play?"
I highly recommend reading this and will seek out Greg's other works ASAP.