Review: Tormentor, William Meikle, 2014.

Cover by Zach McCain

A surprisingly subtle and gentle haunted house novella from Meikle.

Jim Greenwood, our narrator, tells us he’s a “runner” and what he’s hoping to escape from on the Isle of Skye is the memory of his girlfriend Beth, dead three years ago at the age of 26.

But he’s bought a house (and nearby crofter cottage) with a history — a deep history, and it’s not long before strange soot marks start showing up in the house, garbled emails in his inbox, and he feels the presence of something in the house. Is it the spirit of Beth?

The novelty of this story for me was diminished by Meikle using a concept he’s used in a couple of other stories (“The Larkhill Barrow” and “Rhythm and Booze”) though here he also connects it to the Fairy Flag of the Clan MacLeod and other Scottish lore.

On the other hand, the ending was unexpected. Along the way, I got what I hoped for – a Meikle story set in Scotland with a strong sense of place. His stated affection for the place and its people comes through.


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