||March 22, 2012
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Author Stephen Chiarelli
Muckydum: The Story of a Haunted Man is the tale of a man who dissolves a “family curse” by owning his actions and confronting his family’s history. Muckydum is a love story in the most extreme form, filled with life lessons about family and loss.
Bill Hammond lives a lonely life yet shuns any intimate contact with the people around him. He is haunted by visions of people from his dysfunctional relationships, but does his best to ignore or avoid them. Conjuring up fleeting memories of his wife and teaching Shakespeare at the local college provide him with his only semblance of happiness. When he uncharacteristically befriends a withdrawn student in one of his classes he is inadvertently taken on an emotional roller coaster that sends him deeper into despair. On a frantic search for answers he comes to realize that he must affirm his own indiscretions in order to come to terms with how his life has come to pass.
Ten years later on a sunny spring morning Breanna Sutton is reluctantly meeting with Bill, who is now a recluse in an isolated cabin up in Northern Ontario. He had inexplicably started Breanna off on a rewarding and lucrative career that makes her feel bitterly obligated to the old man. She discovers Bill adrift in a world of fantasy and in severe need of medical attention. But the stubborn old man insists that she listen to his recount of his romance with his wife and its tragic conclusion before consenting to get the help he needs. Through the course of an agonizing day, Breanna learns what family truly means and about the obligations that come with it.
Muckydum will take you on the journey of a tormented man’s pursuit to clear his conscience before it’s too late and a woman’s realization that life isn’t measured solely by one’s successes.
Muckydum - The Story of a Haunted Man
Muckydum: The Story of a Haunted Man is the tale of a man who dissolves a “family curse” by owning his actions and confronting his family’s history. This story has many surprises that will astound and inspire the reader. Muckydum is a love story in the most extreme form, filled with life lessons about family and loss.
Bill Hammond is an unusual man by ordinary standards. He has never had many friends, so his life has comprised mainly of the stories he formulated in his head. After his parents’ deaths, Bill used the stories he wrote in his journals during his turbulent childhood to create two novels that became hugely successful and allowed him to live independently. As an adult, Bill has no one significant in his life until he reaches his thirties and meets Joanie. She brings calm and joy to his life. Soon after they marry, Joanie becomes pregnant. In response to his persistent writer’s block, Bill acquires a job as a professor at the local college directly across the street from his home. With a secure stream of income in place, the couple anxiously awaits the birth of their child. But what is expected to be a lifetime of happiness, soon turns into a nightmare after their daughter, Nancy, is born.
There is a supernatural element to the book that may initially throw the reader off balance. Even though the subtitle states clearly that the protagonist is “haunted”, Chiarelli’s descriptions of the daily hauntings Bill endures are so frightening, one expects him to be harmed by the monster that is tormenting him in his home. But, as Bill tells the story of his life to his editor, Breanna, who is also the daughter of his late wife’s best friend, a remarkably clear and realistic picture of Bill’s difficult life emerges. It reveals his response to a family curse and the loss of the only woman he ever loved.
Chiarelli literally weaves the strands of this story together as he guides the reader through Bill’s failed attempt to help a troubled student and his confession to Breanna about the decisions he made concerning his troubled wife. The author takes the reader on a ride back and forth through Bill’s history, ending with the promise of a future that will not include fear or heartbreak. The unexpected twists in this story are both disturbing and awe inspiring; they display Chiarelli’s talent in building suspense by giving readers just enough information to hold their interests until he is ready to drop the full weight of the truth at their feet. It is a skill that few writers possess. Chiarelli has mastered it.
Muckydum: The Story of a Haunted Man is an exceptional read. I highly recommend it.
Melissa Brown Levine
Independent Professional Book Reviewers
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