The Electric

The Electric➽ [Reading] ➿ The Electric By Andrew David Barker ➲ – 'The Electric was a terrific read Absorbing resonant emotionally satisfying and uite magical' Stephen Volk 'Elouent shimmering writing unfurls a haunting story of childhood grief and obsession' – Si 'The Electric was a terrific read Absorbing resonant emotionally satisfying and uite magical' Stephen Volk 'Elouent shimmering writing unfurls a haunting story of childhood grief and obsession' – Simon Clark'I adored every line I can’t recommend it highly enough Book of the Year' The Elouent Page ‘The Electric is an impressive first novel Andrew David Barker’s style is whimsical and nostalgic and the work reads like the haziest recollections of a childhood long since gone’ Starburst Magazine‘The Electric is than a book – just as its namesake is than a cinema – it’s an experience to dive into and wallow in It’s a link to the past and a way to think about what’s really important about life Its heart beats beautiful pulses of nostalgia and grief but it is full of affirmation too the joy of discovery; the value of insight; the depths of friendship love and family ties and the powerful cement of a shared experience’ Geek SyndicateIn the summer of fifteen year old Sam Crowhurst discovers an old abandoned cinema that screens movies made by ghosts for ghosts Sam along with his friends Emma and David find themselves drawn into a world where the likes of Humphrey Bogart Lon Chaney and Theda Bara are still making pictures; where Harold Lloyd and John Belushi team up for roustabout comedies and Karloff and Lugosi appear in films scripted by Edgar Allan Poe Sam comes to learn the mysteries of The Electric cinema and his part to play in its long and strange history With shades of Ray Bradbury the nostalgic work of Stephen King and the early films of Steven Spielberg The Electric is about movies ghosts and that ephemeral moment in all of our lives childhood. ALERT – A number of uotes from the book are in the reviewHeard that before? Well I have read Andrew Barker’s Dead Leaves with review uotes and Bank Holiday All Dayer To understand my 80’s nostalgia see my review of Dead Leaves The Electric is Barker’s first novelFirst uote is this“I once saw one kid confess that he was into Duran Duran and Culture Club That was the end for him If he’d have said say Iron Maiden or Motorhead his future may have been assured but instead he made the fatal mistake of being honest”See that photo on my profile? Two brothers on holiday in the 80’s Ok it is my brother with Iron Maiden plastered on his denim while I am the Def Leppard Kid Does this make me cool?Andrew Barker writes in such a way that I connect with his books on a massive personal scale Like my previous reviews his books are like my autobiography They are coming of age tales that transport me back to the 80’s and 90’sThe story is set in 1985 during the last summer holidays that Sam and his two friends Emma and David will spend together as after summer they are in their final year at school This hits Sam hard as he realises “Autumn lay beyond this storm and my final year of school Beyond that the world waited for me My childhood was ebbing away faster than I’d realised”Sam discovers an old abandoned cinema The Electric which he enters and feels the strange creepy chilling atmosphere of the place What goes on here? He then goes back with his friends to explore and they find ghosts making movies for ghosts They discover about the cinema and how Sam has links to it That finding The Electric is a key moment in his lifeAlthough not a horror story as such the ghosts are friendly I will treat it like oneIt is a coming of age tale The grief Sam has suffered due to loss in his family his relationships with his friends Emma his first love? and David and his mum What is important in life How time goes fast“I felt a very profound sense of time; of how it scurries on so subtly that unless you really look you hardly notice it passing at all”This brings back a lot of memories of my youth My relationships my family my friends Most of all my childhood Where did it go so fast? How did I let it slip away?This Japanese term sums it up Mono No Aware – The sad beauty of seeing time pass the aching awareness of impermanence These are the days that we will return to one day in the future only in memories You probably wouldn’t suspect it to look at me but I’m actually a raging unabashed sentimentalist at heart If you walked passed me in the street the perma scowl on my hairy Neanderthal esue face would give you absolutely no inkling of the huge soft pussycat of a man that hides within Why the self deprecating admission to begin this review? A couple of reasons really Firstly to confirm that looks can be deceptive and secondly and probably importantly in this case that my sentimental nature makes me the perfect audience for the debut novel from Andrew David BarkerThings get off to a suitably creepy yet subtle start Within just a handful of sentences I realised that The Electric was going to be something a bit specialthe evening I discovered the Electric I was alone and that old abandoned building seemed to know itThe plot follows a teenager called Sam Crowhurst as he travels that difficult road between the child he is and the man that he is destined to be Sam acts as the narrator of his own story as he recalls the events of his fifteenth year He is on the cusp of adulthood and the narrative explores the emotions and chaos that rule that often turbulent time in anyone’s life Though young Sam has experienced his fair share of loss and this has left its mark He hasn’t uite managed to come to terms with how he feels and that lack of resolution continues to hold sway A chance encounter leads Sam to The Electric and inadvertently towards making peace with the ghost that haunts his lifeBarker has the most delicate of touches with his writing especially when it comes to capturing those bittersweet emotive moments I don’t doubt for a second that many readers will be able to empathise with all of the themes that are touched up Initially the spirits that haunt The Electric have an ephemeral uality and there is also a sense of sadness of longing that permeates their every action As Sam and his friends learn of the building’s colourful history the ghosts become tangible and start to communicateI remember reading years ago in Necroscope by Brian Lumley if memory serves the idea that the dead continue to do whatever they did best while they were living – painters paint sculptors sculpt etc I’ve always relished that particular thought There is a similar premise at work here Those unfortunates who have passed over don’t let anything as trivial as death stop them from continuing to do what they love The actors act the directors direct and the writers can’t help but write All those stars that have long since gone or have died too young still ply their trade in films created for a very specific audience Any movie fan is going to get a kick out of the plethora of Hollywood references scattered throughout the narrative everyone from Harold Lloyd to John Belushi and Humphrey Bogart get a mentionThe Electric manages to defy categorisation lying somewhere between horror fantasy and modern day fairy tale Barker has crafted a wonderful story that picks apart the tragedy of loss and the slow process of acceptance I was reminded of classic early fiction of Stephen King there is definitely a similar tone to the likes of Stand by Me or IT Hauntingly nostalgic and beautifully evocative the plot really plucks at the old heartstrings but never in an overly schmaltzy saccharin sweet wayI’ll be honest and you may have spotted this already I could wax lyrical about The Electric all day I love reading and I love cinema finding a book that manages to encapsulate and merge together my two greatest passions is a genuine delight I’m always pleased when fiction ignites that kind of fire in my belly Deep down inside in the dark recesses of my psyche it feels as though The Electric has been written just for me and no one else It’s that rarest of beasts a blissful treat that I know I am going to revisit again and again There is no better feeling when you connect with fiction on that near sub atomic level Put simply I loved The Electric This is without a doubt one of my favourite reads so far this year I knew nothing about the book or the author before I started reading but decided to take a chance and I’m so very glad that I did A great read nostalgic romantic and well paced The relationships between the youngsters is real and raw yet in parts tenderThe main draw is the ghosts but the story is carried by the children especially the protagonist Sam The tale weaves and dances around and fits the autumn backdrop perfectly; the fading sun proving a great metaphor for how childhood slips awayIf you like Herbert King Bradbury then this is for you Earlier this year I met up with Alex Davis the publisher and editor of Boo Books at a comic fair in Sheffield During our chat he mentioned a book that was going to be published by his press in the near future which was about a cinema showing films for ghosts made by ghosts I must say I was intrigued by the premise and looked forward to the day I could get my hands on a copy That day came last Saturday and believe me when I say it was worth the wait The story plays out over the last weekweekend of the school summer holidays in 1985 and starts with the lead character Sam Crowhurst cycling by the river after saying goodbye to his friends David and Emma Sam is still getting over the death of his father as is his mother which is why he is in no rush to get home While meandering by the river Sam comes across an old shack with a bit of an old movie poster in it The shack leads to a path which leads inevitably to The Electric an abandoned cinema Though it is deserted and nigh on derelict Sam feels drawn to it and sets off to explore What he and his friends when he fetches them to see it the next day will find at The Electric will change them all I can't say too much about the plot as it may well spoil the reading experience of this uite wonderful book but the general gist is that there are ghosts in The Electric and they are watching films that were never made starring actors from different eras of cinema There is a magic on the screen but also there is a magic here in the printed word The Electric is at heart a ghost story but chilling than horror in style It is also though a coming of age tale The three lead characters are all fifteen years old approaching the last year of school and on the threshold between childhood and adulthood Two of them have lost a parent so their is grief and sorrow thrown into the mix of teenage emotions I thought I had the general idea of where the story was going to end up but I'm not ashamed to say I was only partly right There were two scenes at the end that I honestly believe will stay with me for a very long time and one sentence that actually brought tears to my eyes On this showing Andrew David Barker is one to watch for the future an author with a writing style that draws you into the book and into the story knowing you are in safe hands but not sure what will be round the next corner The book reviewed is a limited edition hardback 98150 but is also available as a kindle edition I bought the copy myself so feel justified in giving it 1010 for both the story and the physical book itself Andrew David Barker and Boo Books Alex Davis remember those names you'll be hearing from both of them in the future Wow This is the kind of book to make me pity those folks who seem to think never having read a book is something to brag about The author perfectly captures the potential inherent in the six weeks of freedom that a mid 1980's summer holiday provided The nostalgia for that period of my own childhood sucked me in but it was the characters of Sam and Emma that kept me reading Everything about this book is wonderfully done pitch perfect in its depiction of childhood love and loss without ever sliding into over sentimentality The author's love of cinema bleeds from the page and the brilliant premise allows him and the reader to have a hell of a lot of fun with the made up movies Highly recommended but be sure to have a tissue or two at the ready A supernatural coming of age story shot through with the author's evident love of the cinema this something a bit different Wonderful characterisation and it genuinely captures the feeling of being a teenager And like all the best movies a bit of a tear jerker as well Recommended I received this book for free I am voluntarily posting this review and all opinions expressed herein are my ownWow Just wow is this a great relatable story with incredible narration The Electric is about a moment in time in your childhood which changes your outlook on the rest of your life While the main characters are teenagers please do not think that this would only appeal to a YA audience or that as an adult there is nothing to see here The story deals with the death of the main protagonist Sam's father and the impact that had on him one summer But beyond that the story is about relationships parental friends first love and growing up and how those relationships impact your life The relationships that the main characters have with each other and Sam our main protagonist has with his parents are realistic tender and at times very unrefined meaning the inability to truly express your thoughts and feelings at a time when you really should be sharing of yourself something even adults are incapable of doing I truly enjoyed how Sam one day realized how alienated his relationship had become with his Mom who is eually grief stricken and thought to make her breakfast to spend a little time together as they were eating an absolutely captivating moment There is a paranormal element to this story which occurs when Sam and his friends enter The Electric cinema The paranormal element is not creepy or frightening nor is this a horror story The paranormal element is used in an extraordinary manner to get Sam to realize the impact his father had on his life even though his father was only present for a very short period of time And in Sam it sparks the joy of using his talents as his father had encouraged him but he had abandoned Further the love of cinema is readily apparent how original to pair John Belushi with Fatty Arbuckle or Lon Chaney with Boris Karloff or Humphrey Bogart with Jean HarlowThis novel draws you in and expertly without be overly sentimental keeps you tuned in as three teenagers try to navigate one summer which changes their lives This story is worth your time and it is highly recommendedThe narrator Nigel Peever is absolutely fantastic He has a very nice clear baritone voice with a slight British accent He does voices for all of the characters including the celebrities In addition there are some sound effects and music which are added nothing too obtrusive and it really enhanced the narration reminiscent of the radio dramas of days past The narration and the story were just the perfect marriage Beautiful story and incredible narration This bittersweet tale was magical and extremely nostalgic It was a touching coming of age story spiced up with a taste of the supernatural Although there was a whole theater full of ghosts it wasn’t scary or creepy The true horror for these teens is the end of summer going back to school and growing up in general There is poignancy to feeling that the bonds to your childhood are being demolished in this case uite literally and you are reluctantly thrust on the path to becoming an adult Childhood friends drift away and childhood pastimes become fondly remembered history This inevitable transition and the melancholy it entails are fully relatable to every adult who looks back on that last summer of childhood with wistfulness and longing for a simpler time While I found this story to be uite sad it is a really fun book especially for lovers of classic movies I am not an avid classic cinema fan but even I recognized most of the famous characters in The Electric’s special ghost movies It’s wholly amusing to see actors from different eras appearing together in film like John Belushi and Fatty Arbuckle providing slapstick to a haunted house tale or Boris Karloff Bela Lugosi and Lon Chaney Sr in a story of vengeful captive ghosts These are movies I would most definitely watch if they existed in real life The Electric is a wistful “if only” moviephile’s dream where Bogart meets Harlow and all the greats can make films together even if they lived in different periods of time I really enjoy the idea that all deceased actors are still making movies in the afterlife It’s good to stay busy even for the deadThis was a full experience audiobook with music and sound effects It really was like watching a movie The narration was excellent and a major highlight of the book It was a very dramatic reading and fit the cinematic nature of the story perfectly The clips from the movies featuring stars with recognizable voices like Bogart and Lugosi were exceptional and I could pretty clearly visualize these movies that never actually existed I received this audiobook free for review but my opinion is my own Evokes a time and a haunting placeI listened to the audiobook and I thought the narrator was particularly good with dialogue and the teen characters's voices excellent in reading description and creepy narrativeThe premise of a haunted cinema a film that was never made and a group of teen friends in the 1980s hooked me and delivered the mix of nostalgia and coming of age that I was hoping for The teen relationships rang true especially the boys' embarrassment and self consciousness at Emma's precocious teasing a timely reminder that growing up is no easier for boys than for girlsThe places linger in my imagination although I finished listening two weeks ago the Car Cemetery where the kids hang out in wrecked vehicles and the derelict cinema were vividly brought to life and every place felt real to me I also found the ending well conceiveda haunting conclusion There was much to love but I sometimes grew irritated by the slow pace the repetition and being told every single emotion felt by the characters at all timesAlso the period detail came from lists and names which worked for me as I knew most of them but context and fewer names whether of eg song hits or film stars would have been better The end of SummerThis was an unusual narrative a mixture between the adventures of teenagers in an age now past first love discovery of an old building films from the black and white era and the paranormal As with most of the books I've reviewed recently this was in audiobook format but with a difference Headed up by the actor Nigel Peever this also encompassed music and sound effects which gave it a cinematic feel probably uite different form the experience of reading the original bookDavid Emma and Sam the narrator are passing time towards the end of the long summer holidays of 1985 Sam stumbles across an old movie theatre The Electric hidden amongst undergrowth and off the beaten path It is spooky and he has a strange reaction to it but he can't wait to share his discovery with his friends Emma feels the strangeness of the place immediately but it takes David a while before he is drawn in Together they discover the history of the place why it was built who watched and what was shownI really enjoyed this novel but there were a few things that irritated me Not being a film buff I thought there was too much description of the films and this would probably have bothered me even if I'd been reading In addition while I loved the sound effects I did think the background rain or traffic might have been faded out to leave us with the narrative instead of drumming on in the backgroundThe story had a personal element too; Sam's Dad had died and he was living with his mother while Emma had also lost her mother and was living with her father Their grief is still raw and comes to the surface during the narrative This grounds the otherwise somewhat fantastical element of the storyIf you're into old films and don't mind a bit of fantasy then this could be your next summer read