Review: The Case of Aleister Stratton

Book CoverSpeculation about the mind being able to move objects, influence others, and create a reality outside of human experience is the stuff writers use to great effect in novels deemed science fiction or fantasy or simply weird. The one thing we know is that the mind is complex. The little connectors in our heads fire off minute bits of information every micro-second within every second.

In The Case of Aleister Stratton, author and poet K.G.V. Barnwell explores how our dreaming selves may influence the course of our waking lives, especially when the dreams are devilishly bent toward revenge and retribution.

Barnwell sets the premise by identifying herself as the compiler of the story, not the writer, a reporter of events, a chronicler of someone else’s intriguing tale, one that could be told in the chill night of Edwardian England or in the modern era.

The story’s tone and style evoke a haunting aura not unlike that of Edgar Allen Poe, another poet with a penchant for writing about the bleaker side of human nature. The scholarly professor who becomes part and parcel of the ominous adventure enters into it uncertain about what he will learn and baffled by his own acquiescence, a willingness or curiosity to know why (or if?) Aleister Stratton did what he said he did.

How that revelation lives on after the Professor’s retirement causes the reader to wonder just how powerful the mind can be, and the consequence of unleashing that power. Do dark dreams lead to dark outcomes? Ask Professor Harold Richard Holland, the inheritor of the tale. He can tell you.

The Case of Aleister Stratton is a quick read novella with a satisfying – if mystifying – conclusion.

In a 2015 Q&A on One Roof Publishing, Barnwell described herself as an “English romantic poet and writer, living a variety of lives in and amongst the diversity and beauty of the city, sea and countryside.” This novella is a departure from her usual work, a reflection of the author’s muse seeking new outlets for her creativity and imagination.

The Case of Aleister Stratton is available worldwide through Amazon and other online book distributors.

Image from Amazon