Crimson Quill’s Appraisal #106
Author: C. William Giles
Publishing House: Authorhouse
Today is a sterling day for anyone who likes creative writing. These days are few and far between for Keeper, never what you would call an avid bookworm, Film has always been my true mistress; time being the main reason for this laxity. I love music, like nothing more than a brisk saunter around Skyrim but cannot shoehorn these interests in if I wish to put all of my soul into my scribings. However, I like to think of myself as a kind-hearted fellow, so when approached by a similar strain as myself I will take any proposal very seriously indeed.
When I first learned of an upcoming novelist by the name of C. William Giles I was intrigued to say the least. Once we began conversing it became opaque right away that this was a chap of the dignified and unassuming kind. Courteous and respectful, he endeared himself to Keeper in no time. So when he asked whether I would appraise his debut novel, I naturally and instinctively retorted a resounding yes.
True to his word, his novel arrived subsequently (a day early to be specific) and as I slid the scribings from their padded hollow I was momentarily intoxicated. Opening up to slide my nostrils along the inner bindings, that inebriation flared back up and I already knew this was going to be a momentous parable. As I hurriedly brushed the pages back to the commencement and read of this man’s fallen heroes, it became apparent that this piece of art would contain Giles’ most subterranean ache; I believe this is where you find yourself as a writer. His depth of character was evident; this would doubtless have provided healing the likes of which cannot be undertaken any other way. As a fellow writer I can identify with that concept with ease.
I flicked again, a personal message. Of course, ‘twould be no other way. Alongside the words ”may your goblet overspill yet never spill a drop” was an attentively placed bookmark and I was now armed to take my first steps into this man’s innermost illusions. As I initiated my pilgrimage, with the impact of a splitting maul his words instantly winded me. Plunged into a nightmarish scenario, our protagonist is then tortured, in delightfully colorful bone-splintering detail. Instantly my mind created a panorama, the biggest reward a piece of literary art can bestow upon its addressee. It was palpable, to the point where my every one of my senses invested in each and every word so fluently scribed. By the close of the Chapter, and I shall say no more, I was in. No mean feat for an individual who too often reads on auto-pilot.
It struck me instantly that the Chapter had seemed comparatively brief by normal standards and this is entirely intentional on Giles’ part; he is assured enough in his writing to know that short and punchy will keep the reader bound to his scribings and unable to put it down once inaugurated. That is exactly what had transpired with Keeper; it held me captive, not against my will either. The characters were well-drawn and padded out perfectly, Giles has rare insight which is evident in the way each protagonist appears on the page before us. We are aware of their imperfections but none of this matters a jot as we are more than willing to invest.
Seth and Lily have had differing fortunes since an unceremonious split, Seth has become seemingly stuck on loop, drowning in cheap women and self-loathing whereas Lily has moved onto pastures new; highly regarded within her profession as psychiatrist at the Hoffman Psychiatric Institute, and in a budding relationship with a co-worker, she appears to have it together. Not so; her exchanges with a particularly bothersome patient bring flooding back memories of the ultimate loss, that of the pair’s son. Seemingly able to mimic her son’s death throes, this particularly spiteful customer knows each button to press, as if fully briefed on her history. These interactions in turn force her into contacting her former spouse for advice. While initially flippant; Seth feels that twinge of inner torment once more, suffering from lucid and torturous nightmares himself, he is willing to entertain Lily’s preposterous notion.
Giles keeps us reeled in like an excitable fisherman, then cranks it sooner than we expect and takes us into more subterranean territory as a chance encounter with a seductive red-headed siren takes Seth literally to a place he probably wishes it hadn’t. The ironically named Angelique plays a large part in proceedings as she lures him ultimately into a tête-à-tête with someone truly formidable.
I shall say no more; synopsis is my least favored part of the Appraisal process but I will say this… Wherever you see the potential for this dark fable to take you, I can assure you that Giles will be only too happy to oblige. His debut gives the term ‘Go fuck yourself’ a whole new meaning and shows the Prince of Darkness at his most tantalizing; strapping business acumen and a persuasive manner are displayed as he finds his advocate.
Patient Severin Frost is a truly pivotal character; displaying charm and menace in equal displays, his numerous exchanges with Lily call to mind the calm and calculated (dare I say it?) Hannibal Lecter. I’m comfortable with that retort as Giles multifaceted writing style fleshes him out with the same measured madness and, in the exact same instance, both complete sanity and clarity.
Keeper senses reason for his Grueheads to be excited, not since the great Shaun Hutson has there been such an emergence of raw talent that is exhibited here in every Chapter. It has succubus-like qualities, blurring the reader’s own perceptions of reality and delivering knockout blow upon blow as it reaches its pressure cooker climactic twist of the dagger.
I’m going to just say it; Renegades by Shaun Hutson. Since my exposure to said book at the ripe old age of seventeen I have carried it in my heart’s deepest sepulcher. It can rest now; Keeper has found a new author in C.William Giles to carry the blood-spattered baton. I implore you, one and all, read this masterful book. Post haste. I for one will be taking a bite from this brilliant mind’s next forbidden fruit.
Richard Charles Stevens
Keeper of The Crimson Quill
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