Friday, January 20, 2012

Residua - David Mathew

A lovely and gradual unfolding of the psychological complexity of an apparently simple, if unpleasant scenario. Mr. Mathew takes a not entirely original concept and moulds it into something new and unique.


Steve Bilty is in prison, sentenced to 18 years of hard time for a crime he may or may not have committed. A prison guard, Orwenson, seems to know something about it. When Bilty comes across an Alfred Hitchcock presented anthology called Ghostly Gallery in the prison library, strange things begin to happen behind the prison walls. The enjoyment in this involving story revolves around the scenes between Bilty and the prison guard Orwenson. The dialogue between these two characters just jumps off the page. Slowly we come to realize what is haunting Bilty, and you have to read this entertaining story to find out what his crime may or may not have been, and if he is guilty or innocent. (And those Hitch anthos surely have seeped into the impressionable minds of many a young reader.)


One of the longer tales, “Residua” by David Mathew is the intriguing story of a possibly-innocent con who becomes attached to a book called Ghostly Gallery in the prison library. He starts to encounter characters from it in real life, also baffled by the intentions of an oddly benevolent guard who seems able to read his mind. It notches up the tension and curiosity well with strong, fleshed-out characters and snappy dialogue. There’s a lot of subtle fear in this story, and when some horrible truths come to light, it pans out into an absorbing journey of damage with a cheeky punch-line.


"...cleverly blurs the lines between reality and fiction,..." (Black Static #25 - TTA Press)
Any further reviews after 20 Jan 12 will appear in the comments below.

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