Cupboard of Skeletons

Cupboard of Skeletons

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Author: Raymond Nickford
Length: 250 page(s)
Language: English
Written: Nov 2013
Verkaufsrang: - XinXii Verkaufsrang
Views: 142

Category: Fiction & Literature » Drama  |  Work: Roman
Keywords: Secrets, confidences, trust and mistrust, doubt and self-doubt, private anguish, loneliness, tenderness, dysfunctional family, hypnosis, eerie presence, atmospheric, spine chilling, suspense, psychological thriller, literary fiction, strained romance

Secrets which test and haunt... and those who refuse to be haunted.

Cupboard of Skeletons

In places, sometimes remote, there is a distinct sense of 'presence' if not ghosts but the 'Cupboard of Skeletons' is more a euphemism for people with dark or embarrassing secrets which come to haunt and test their lives and how the characters challenge fate and, against all odds, find something of their dreams.

The stories reflect a whole spectrum of emotions ; from tenderness to private anguish, from outward normality to the inwardly dysfunctional and the endangered relationship. But always - at the core - the themes reach out to those left lonely within a crowd; they alone who know that, for the moment, their smile is a veil.

“Skellies in the Closet? Everybody has them. Dark secrets. Troubled pasts. Or the repeated inability to hit the mark. When our spirits are low, we crave dark music. Just as medicinal, however, are well-crafted stories of things macabre, chronicles of lives that take us either in or outside of ourselves. Or both.
Cupboard of Skeletons by Raymond Nickford is a mix of substantial stories. One can't help but remain riveted through to the end of each tale, leaving us ready to delve into the next. The stories are about living and choices and missteps; they will undoubtedly haunt your thoughts for some time.
Nickford's prose is mesmerizing, yet his delightful dry humor arises just often enough to charm us along the way.”

John Campbell – author of Walk to Paradise Garden

“ The stories in Raymond Nickford's Cupboard of Skeletons vary in length, but each shares an amplified eeriness and characters who straddle worlds--natural, unnatural, supernatural--and defy usual classifications of normality. Some of the players in these suspenseful, macabre stories are probably insane, all are involved in relationships that hurt more than heal; often, ghosts from past discretions and indiscretions will not let them go.

A woman with a curious "sense of touch" feels the presence of an orphan in a weathered cookbook as she begins to shed her skin; a man sedates his stuttering son, who believes himself attacked by a yew tree, a professor continues a relationship with a young student, even after he suspects her involvement in the lurid death of a mentally disabled young man; a woman's experiences with a hypnotist leave her spinning in a gray, haunting landscape somewhere between imagination and reality.

One gripping aspect of Nickford's writing is the masterful way he creates a mood. I was put in mind of The Twilight Zone television series, the way each episode immersed the viewer completely in the created world, held suspended with the anticipation of a surprising twist or nuance. As a bonus, the writing itself sustains. The descriptions are lush and tangible, each setting a veritable stew for the story to marinate in; the ingredients: decay, regeneration, the corporeal and the cerebral. For example, a woman contemplates an old cookbook, which feels like dried skin, while her own skin begins to fester and peel, all the while recalling in fits and starts her husband's demise as her creepy mother carves a rather large, strange-smelling roast. Every sense I had was engaged as I read these stories and at times, I turned on an extra light to feel at ease. A unique read, something to raise goose bumps on a stormy night but also multi-layered enough to keep you thinking about it when the air clears. ”

Mary Vensel White - author of The Qualities of Wood


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About the Author

Raymond Nickford | Author on XinXii.com

Member since: Nov 2017
Publications on XinXii:  6
My social profiles on...
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Raymond Nickford has a degree in Psychology and Philosophy from the University College of North Wales and has been a college lecturer in English Literature. Troubled souls; the outsider, the lonely, his inspiration.

Meet-the-Author interview:

https://susansbooks37.wordpress.com/2013/05/05/meet-the-author-raymond-nickford/

Raymond's work has been influenced in part by film producer Alfred Hitchcock, as well as authors Ian McEwan and - especially - Daphne du Maurier, whose mastery of mystery and suspense first sparked his interest in fiction with her "Rebecca".

Raymond believes his teaching of English in colleges and as a private tutor has informed his new suspense A Child from the Wishing Well:

This features an eerie music tutor, her young pupil Rosie and Rosie's paranoid and inept father, Gerard, who yearns to fight his mental illness to reach out to his lonely daughter.

The book was shortlisted for the Harper Collins Gold Star Award, May 2010.

Reviews:

"Growing up in a suburb of Chicago, the first scary movie I remember seeing was the 1965 Bette Davis movie, The Nanny. To this day, that movie has always stuck with me as one of the great psychological thrillers of all time. For me, A Child from the Wishing Well, is reminiscent of that movie" -
Candace Bowen Early - author of A Knight of Silence

"The story is both enjoyable and oddly chilling, all the more so for its apparent warmth. The pleasantness of Ruth and her liveliness should seem gentle, grandmotherly and appealing, a sweet old lady one could adore, what seems kindly suddenly turns sinister, her upbeat excitability oddly macabre, her voice... a bird screeching... fingers down a blackboard" -
Raven Clarke - author of The Shadowsword Saga

"The author gives great voice to his characters, describing well their idiosyncrasies. A good story must either go deep or wide, and with Nickford's background in psychology he goes deep within the human condition. For some adults, the ability to relate to a child does not come naturally, and requires enormous if not awkward effort. This is an often overlooked subject worth exploring" -
Stephen Valentine - author of Nobody Rides for Free

"A beautifully constructed scenario emerged. The attic scene vividly describes the significance of the doll in the depth of the well. All the mystery and menace of the story coalesces here. I was taken back years to the 1960s when I read a story by Saki entitled The Lumber Room. Mystery and menace are purely distilled in a distinctive writing style" -
Tony Brady - author of Scenes from an Examined Life

"Full of dark shadings and menace. I like the tenderness of the father's feelings" -
A. R. Taylor - author of Sex, Rain, and Cold Fusion

Aristo's Family : Set on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, an eerie and poignant story about a boy's need to belong while his archaeologist father is too preoccupied with his obsession to search for a family who, Aristo was told, had all been burnt beyond recognition in the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974. Father and son... or strangers forever ?

Twists in the Tale : Eerie stories of the troubled, the lonely, but places where clouds can, ultimately, have a silver lining.

For other titles of family life in literary and psychological suspense please see Raymond Nickford's books on Amazon and other retailers.

Raymond says he is moved by the music and life of the composer Edward Elgar, his interest leading him each year to a cottage in the Malvern Hills and to the Three Choirs Festival.

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/raymond.nickford25

Twitter:

https://twitter.com/RNickford

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