Modern Lit: A Stir of Echoes, by Richard Matheson

Stir of EchoesGhost story

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Many of us think it would be cool to be able to foresee the future and “read minds”, but Stir of Echoes paints a far different picture. When Tom permits his college student brother-in-law to hypnotize him at a party, he comes out of his trance with some new psychic abilities. Tom’s intrigued, but some of the stuff he’s picking up on is disturbing. His wife is spooked by his clairvoyance, and it isn’t long before it begins to place a strain on their marriage.

Author Matheson is credited by Steven King as the writer that most influenced him, and he certainly knew how to bring the reader into the mind of the protagonist. Echoes is built around a mystery, and, step by step we accompany Tom as he pieces that mystery together. There are a few disparate elements in the plot (the bit about the babysitter, for instance, seems contrived), but the story holds together well. Written in the 1950’s, it retains its effectiveness today.

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