Phantom Audition: A modern gothic nail-biter
I’ve always loved a good gothic mystery, and countless novels have inspired me. Everything from Jane Eyre to The Hound of the Baskervilles to Rebecca. Then there are the more horror-heavy gothic masterpieces including The Woman in Black, The Haunting of Hill House, The Turn of the Screw, and the sinister short stories of MR James (such as The Ash Tree). More recently I’ve been inspired by novels such as The Corset and The Silent Companions.
If you like any of these, then my novel Phantom Audition will be right up your street. It concerns widowed actress Mia Yardley, who investigates the mysterious suicide of her famous actor husband, Steven. Before his death, Steven took a film role playing famous abstract painter Edward Bingley, who also committed suicide in mysterious circumstances. When Mia discovers her husband only took roles based on consultations with a medium, she comes to suspect her husband may have buried himself in the role a little too much – to the point where supernatural forces could be involved.
Mia is a woman isolated by grief, surrounded by hostile staff and relatives who look down their nose at her, thinking her unworthy of inheriting the Yardley ancestral home. Amid her investigations, she desperately tries to rediscover who she is, to escape her husband’s shadow. Layer upon layer of secrets are gradually revealed. But is she any closer to the truth? Or does every answer simply lead to more questions?
Phantom Audition encompasses a wide variety of themes, including being in love with something that doesn’t exist, abuse of power, how artists can become narcissists who think moral codes do not apply to them, the dangers of tampering in the occult, obsession, madness and much more. It has had rave reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, so I do urge checking it out.
One final point: If you enjoy Phantom Audition, I have four other gothic horror mysteries you can get your teeth into – Spectre of Springwell Forest, The Irresistible Summons, The Birds Began to Sing, and The Thistlewood Curse, all of which have likewise had tremendous reviews.
About Simon Dillon:
The spirit of Simon Dillon took human form in 1975, in accordance with The Prophecy. He kept a low profile during his formative years, living the first twenty or so of them in Oxford, before attending University in Southampton, and shortly afterwards hiding undercover in a television job. In the intervening years, he honed his writing skills and has now been unleashed on the world, deploying various short stories and novels to deliberately and ruthlessly entertain his readers. He presently lives in the South-West of England with his wife and two children, busily brainwashing the latter with the books he loved growing up.
Connect with Simon Dillon:
Title: Phantom Audition
Author: Simon Dillon
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Small-time actress Mia Yardley, recently widowed wife of renowned actor Steven Yardley, discovers her late husband’s secret acting diary. The diary details appointments made with a psychic medium, who advised Steven on which roles to take. It also raises questions about his mysterious and inexplicable suicide. Seeking answers, Mia speaks to the medium, but in doing so is drawn into an ever- deepening mystery about what happened to her husband during the final days of his life. Eventually, she is forced to ask the terrible question: was Steven Yardley murdered by a vengeful evil from beyond the grave?
Phantom Audition Excerpt:
Mia sighed. None of this was really news to her, and after reading a few similarly unremarkable entries, she was tempted to ignore the rest of the journal. All this was doing was make her miss Steven more than ever. However, she caught sight of Etta’s name at the beginning of the next entry and her interest was piqued once more.
Etta made a quite singular suggestion today regarding Bingley that she is convinced will land me that long overdue Oscar. I am a little apprehensive about what she is asking, but also quite exhilarated at the prospect. Etta has never been wrong before, and even though certain aspects of what she is asking worries me, I think I will take the leap. Perhaps it will all prove ridiculous, and much ado about nothing.
The next entry was brief, and equally cryptic.
It’s happening with Etta today. Very nervous.