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Sunday 23 January 2022

‘Recursion’ by David J. Harrison

Published by The Book Guild,
28 October 2021.
ISBN: 978-1-91391348-9 (PB)

Haruka a renowned artist is struggling to carry on with his painting after his wife Jane left him at the beginning of the year.  His agent recommends he has a holiday in a little cottage he knows in the Lake District. However, when Haruka arrives, something very strange is going on. A man the villagers call the Captain seems to run their lives, he appears to be some kind of cult priest.

Three months later, Jane receives a call from Haruka’s agent to say he needs some of his paintings for an exhibition. He is having trouble getting hold of him and asks her for spare keys to their house to retrieve his artwork. Rather concerned about his long absence without anyone hearing from him, Jane decides to travel to the Lake District to see him.

When she arrives and asks why he hasn’t contacted her in three months, he looks puzzled and says he has only just arrived by taxi. Jane is very confused, wants to leave but her car has broken down and there is no reception for mobiles in the village. Haruka takes her to the Captain – he is the nearest one with a landline.  This is the time their problems begin, nothing will ever be the same again.

The Captain is a very charismatic character but has an underlying creepiness, he even emits a feeling of evil. Jane contacts the L.S.O. which she conducts for only to be asked why she has disappeared for three months. Her job has been given to someone else. She really is totally confused now.

Things go from bad to worse, time is really distorted and there is an air of evil at every turn. They just don’t know who to trust, everyone acts so strangely. Why have the villagers dug several troughs each six feet deep on the side of the hill?  What is the purpose of the disturbing white room in the Captain’s house that has a translucent mass slithering down the wall?  Who is the mysterious Frank who runs the local post office?

Haruka and Jane struggle to keep their sanity as they try to make out what is going on and all the while things keep occurring and reoccurring.

Will they survive in one piece? Escape seems impossible.

Goodness when I first started reading this book, I didn’t think it was for me, but the more I read the more I became really intrigued and ended up enjoying it. I can see readers of science fiction loving its “weirdness” and thoroughly recommend it, especially for them.

Reviewer: Tricia Chappell

David J Harrison only realised that Lord of the Rings had been read out to him as a sleeping child when as a teenager he sought an explanation for its familiarity. On a more conscious level, he was brought up on a diet of classic science fiction and fantasy, most notably the stories of Robert E Howard, Lin Carter and L. Sprague de Camp. Little wonder that he chose psychology as his degree subject. He works in biotechnology, specialising in medical devices and is excited to have contributed towards several important new medicines. He lives in Cambridge with his wife and children who he stops reading to when they fall asleep.


Tricia Chappell. I have a great love of books and reading, especially crime and thrillers. I play the occasional game of golf (when I am not reading). My great love is cruising especially to far flung places, when there are long days at sea for plenty more reading! I am really enjoying reviewing books and have found lots of great new authors.

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