Whisper Down The Lane
Clay McLeod Chapman
reviewed by Mike Rankin
Richard Bellamy has moved his livelihood to the small town of Danvers. There he begins his kindergarten art teacher job as well as his new role of husband and step-father to wife Tamara and step-son Elijah. However, when Richard’s childhood torments begin gradually emerging, accusations of the most heinous crimes begin to surface from the past, linking itself to present day occurrences and beyond. Could history have begun to repeat itself, or is it a disturbing masquerade of sinister intentions?
Set in the 1980s, author Clay McLeod Chapman delves into the horror behind the term “satanic panic” that was so well known within this time period. His fusion of past and present ping pong back and forth with tense, abhorrent subject matter. Having a vessel to guide satanic ritualistic undertones throughout the storyline, Chapman proclaims an evil and combines it with unimaginable coercive accusations. While treading on explosive and edgy topics, the central characters suffer because of hidden implications that are slowly revealed. What happens if you believe in a lie so much it comes true, even if the voice happens to be coming from an innocent kindergartener?
To be the intended target of such a terrible accusation is scary enough, but when it involves children, that fear doubles. This is where the reader will experience how a narrative can become a fountain of false testimony and how evil can be perceived and misconstrued into something that it’s not.
Chapman is a maestro at building grim suspense to the point of unimaginable consequences, proving genuine horror dwells in the world we live in today. Potential psychological damage may not come from a source one expects. It could very well come from authoritative figures such as teachers, preachers, and political leaders.
The reading audience will attend activities such as midnight masses, grave robbing, and satanic orgies involving cannibalism. Introductions will be made to personalities in all their distorted glory; in particular Mr. Stitch, Mr. Yucky, and The Bad Snatcher. These hidden truths and unconventional personas are explored in Whisper Down The Lane, with a plot that subverts expectations.
Readers, be prepared to play a deranged version of the children’s game, Whisper Down The Lane. Hearing classroom whispers of welcoming Devil’s disciples and Satan worshippers to come out and play along with their demented games, will eventually lead to a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” life lesson. A very strong recommendation to read this one. Enjoy the façade.