Jump Cut by Helen Grant
Fledgling Press 2023
It is well known that I am a short story lover and that,as a rule,I seldom face the task of reading ( and reviewing) novels. I guess my suspension of disbelief doesn’t last long enough…
But there are a few exceptions. Some authors deserve my full, long lasting attention, and Helen Grant is one of them.
Here we have a recently widowed young woman, Theda, trying to forget her loss by interviewing Mary Arden, an 104-year-old former actress, the only survivor from the cast of a famous, but long lost film, The Simulacrum. Usually impervious to any request of being interviewed, the former diva ( who actually owns the only copy of that movie) unexpectedly accepts, to talk about it with Theda, who, in order to execute the task, actually moves in the huge mansion where Arden lives.
But any favor has a price and Theda, in exchange for the memories of the ancient actress, has to reveal the details of her own love story with her former husband and the circumstances surrounding his untimely death.
So much for the plot because I don’t want to provide any spoilers.
The novel has a slow start but then becomes an irresistible,overwhelming ride into the lives of the two women.
Grant is a skilled storyteller and the novel becomes increasingly engrossing, page after page.
Old tragedies come back to haunt both women,and, unexpectedly, the supernatural bursts into the story, providing unforseen explanations of some strange occurrences taking place at night in the house.
I wholeheartedly recommend this intriguing and fascinating novel to any reader who loves atmospheric and disturbing dark fiction.
Jump Cut by Helen Grant
The Simulacrum is the most famous lost movie in film history – would you tell someone your darkest secrets, just to lay hands on a copy? 104-year-old Mary Arden is the last surviving cast member of a notorious lost film. Holed up in Garthside, an Art Deco mansion reputed to be haunted, she has always refused interviews.
Now Mary has agreed to talk to film enthusiast Theda Garrick. In return she demands all the salacious details of Theda’s tragic past. Only the hint of a truly stupendous discovery stops Theda walking out. But Mary’s prying questions are not the only thing Theda has to fear. The spirit of The Simulacrum walks Garthside by night, and it will turn an old tragedy into a new nightmare…