Richard T Kelly - The Possessions of Doctor Forrest (review) (4 stars)

Gothic thriller makes for a pleasant departure for the Crusaders author

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Richard T Kelly - The Possessions of Doctor Forrest (review)

(Faber)
Take three respected Scottish doctors, a paediatric surgeon, psychiatrist and cosmetic surgeon, now all living comfortably in suburban London. Make the hedonist cosmetic surgeon suddenly disappear and you have the beginnings of a very satisfying thriller, one that owes a debt of passion to the gothic mystery traditions of Robert Stevenson’s Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and James Hogg’s The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner; although, according to Kelly’s blog, Matthew Lewis’ The Monk and the films of David Cronenberg also cast a spell over him while writing this.

The first three quarters of the book are made up of journals, police notes and correspondence before Kelly teasingly gives up the real story. It’s all marshalled with a real feel for pace, character and that gap where metafiction meets the gothic novel. The Possessions of Doctor Forrest is a big departure from the epic sweep of his debut novel Crusaders, but is no less impressive in its desire to reshape a genre.

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