In the scorching summer of 1976—the hottest on record—Christopher Norton, his wife Laura and their young daughter Faye settle into their new home in north London.
The faded glory of the Victorian house is the perfect place for Norton, a composer of film soundtracks, to build a recording studio of his own. But soon in the long, oppressively hot nights, Laura begins to hear something through the crackle of the baby monitor. First, a knocking sound. Then come the voices.
For Norton, the voices mark an exciting opportunity. Putting his work aside, he begins the project of a lifetime—a grand symphony incorporating the voices—and becomes increasingly obsessed with one voice in particular. Someone who is determined to make themselves heard . . .
Thirty-year-old George Davies can’t bring himself to hold his newborn son. After months of accepting his lame excuses and strange behavior, his wife has had enough. She demands that he see a therapist, and George, desperate to save his unraveling marriage and redeem himself as a father and husband, reluctantly agrees.
As he delves into his childhood memories, he begins to recall things he hasn’t thought of in twenty years. Events, people, and strange situations come rushing back. The odd, rambling letters his father sent home before he died. The jovial mother who started dating too soon after his father’s death. A boy who appeared one night when George was lonely, then told him secrets he didn’t want to know. How no one believed this new friend was real and that he was responsible for the bad things that were happening.
Terrified by all that he has forgotten, George struggles to remember what really happened in the months following his father’s death. Were his ominous visions and erratic behavior the product of a grief-stricken child’s overactive imagination? Or were his father’s colleagues, who blamed a darker, more malevolent force, right to look to the supernatural as a means to end George’s suffering? Twenty years later, George still does not know. But when a mysterious murder is revealed, remembering the past becomes the only way George can protect himself--and his young family.
A psychological thriller in the tradition of Donna Tartt’s The Secret History--with shades of The Exorcist--A Good and Happy Child leaves you questioning the things you remember and frightened of the things you’ve forgotten.
“Beautifully written and perfectly structured. . . . This novel is much more than The Omen for the latte generation, and Evans cleverly subverts expectations at every turn.” –Washington Post
“[A] satisfying, suspenseful first novel. . . . Young George’s intriguing story unbalances the reader right up to the book’s deliciously chilling end.”
“A scary, grown-up ghost story that combines Southern gothic with more than a twist of The Exorcist. . . . Combine[s] mind-bending storytelling with excellent prose.”
“Think Rosemary’s Baby—plus . . . told in the kind of prose that mesmerizes, sweeping the reader along so fast that there’s no time to ask questions.”
“[A] dazzling debut . . . part psychological thriller, part horror story.”
“Relat[es] his otherworldly suspense story with the cool, calm eye of a skeptic.”
—Entertainment Weekly (A—)