TAMPER: A Book Review
I recently read a book by my friend Bill Ectric and reviewed it below. The book can be purchased on Amazon. Also check out his blog at: https://billectric.wordpress.com/
Tamper by Bill Ectric
Bill Ectric’s novel, Tamper, spans the life of the protagonist from his early childhood into early adulthood, not always chronologically, while exploring the intersection of madness and the supernatural. Whit, the main character and founding editor of The Astral Beat, a local newspaper reporting on the paranormal, is haunted, but by what? Is it his past, his struggles with addiction, a strange twist of mind, or is it ghosts, or even a long forgotten race of aliens tunneling under the earth? This book has a dreamlike quality as the protagonist barely maintains a balance between the reality of his life growing up in the small Virginia town of Hansburg, and the surreality of his peripheral glimpses into the inexplicable.
Whit’s hold on reality is somewhat tenuous. After a medical release from the Navy, he finds himself unable to function and moves back in with his parents, while his former friends go on with their lives: college, military careers, and families. Whit has time to think again about his tabloid, The Astral Beat, his obsession with the number four, and a science fiction writer named Richard Shaver, who believed that a race of abandoned aliens lived in tunnels underground and used a technique called “tamper” to interfere with human brains. If it is hard for the reader to figure out whether or not Whit believes in ghosts and Shaver’s aliens, it is just as hard for Whit. The possibility of these otherworldly entities helps him explain and explore what is taking place inside his own head, but he seems cognizant of the fact that his mind is an untrustworthy apparatus for sorting reality.
With the help of some very understanding friends and an author famous for writing about the supernatural, Whit finds himself on a strange trip to investigate Richard Shaver’s tales of tunnel dwelling creatures, a trip that simultaneously propels him back out into reality and back into the recesses of his strange mind.
This novel is as much a psychological examination of the supernatural as it is an action story. The dreamlike quality casts a sort of hazy enchantment over Whit’s narration. One is led to ask whether Whit is obsessed merely with coincidence and self- invented connections, or whether there might be something or someone on the edge of reality, figures darting in the corner of the eye, something tampering with his brain. Readers who wonder just how much of reality is constructed and who is constructing it will appreciate this journey with Whit.
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