The Fort Providence Watch
Writer’s Digest Magazine Review - 2001
In this novel, where fiction blends with historical accounts, it is plain to see Henry P. Gravelle walks the narrow divide with confidence. He has given the reader an intimate look at the foggy lanes of London’s East End, an Atlantic crossing, the interior and exterior conflicts of many characters’ lives, and all of this takes place in a century past.
Throughout the book, I felt an atmosphere both chilling and romantic. The author uses a stiff prose, conveying Victorian times on one hand, while delving into his characters with a sensuous language that aroused passion.
I felt the characters were motivated. Dr. Barnet surely the most memorable. As he evolved as the concealed villain, I considered him, in the end, to be his own antagonist. Scenes were most successful when held to one point-of-view.
Congratulations to Mr. Gravelle for a compelling story.
Review by Francine Biere
From introduction to final line, Henry P. Gravelle sets the stage, dims the lights, and prepares to open the curtain on a stage darker than a black, moonless night. As if calling friends for a game of Hide and Seek, Henry extends a most eloquent invitation to a brand new game of Scare the Reader.
I could not help but clap in delight as I responded to Henry’s invitation to examine what is real and what is not. With his talent for the macabre, it is hard to tell the difference. His storyteller voice and sense of place perfectly matches the spells he weaves.
If your taste runs to strange and bizarre, or darker tales in Gothic horror, readers will find it in this cornucopia of stories. A measure of gruesomeness as well as special images easily transports you into the realm of What Ifs and the kingdom of Just Maybes found within this collection of short stories. Ollie-Ollie Oxen Free has something for just about everyone.
Henry does offer a refreshing sense of humor in Confronting Closet Creatures. This essay on the dynamics of monsters in the closet or under the bed provides expert advice on the mechanics of dealing with these boogiemen.
If you desire collecting the odd and unusual, you just might want to read The Acquisition, where the definition of second chance takes on a whole, new meaning. Grenouille Pond leads the reader into a Louisiana child’s summer night, to shadows whispering in the stillness of a Cajun pond.
A word of warning: Be careful what you believe in before opening this book. You may just come face-to-face with some undisturbed demons of your own.
Stoughton resident and author Henry Gravelle has been finding success in the literary and film industries of late.
Jumping off the page
By Kate Sullivan Foley
Thu Aug 28, 2008, 10:40 AM EDT
Perseverance and dedication have finally paid off for Stoughton resident Henry Gravelle having the rights to another of his books, The Igloo Boys, optioned by a California film production company.
Although not quite ready to give up his truck driver day job, Gravelle is pleased with his success.
“Writing is my life…I put a lot of time and energy into these books and I really appreciate when people read them,” he said.
Raised in Hyde Park, the son of a Boston police detective, Gravelle was privy to countless stories about criminals. He quickly aspired to be like his father and fight crime.
After graduating from Hyde Park High and completing a stint in the United States Air Force, Gravelle started pursuing a career in law enforcement. He took criminal justice classes at Northeastern University, worked as a police officer at UMass Boston, attended the Brookline Police Academy and worked as a corrections officer at Walpole State Prison.
In the mid-1970s, with a wife and two daughters and dozens of ideas in his head, Gravelle sat down at a typewriter and penned his first book, The Banshee.
His reason for writing was quite simple, “I felt like I had a story to tell,” he said.
The book is about a witch, executed in the 1600s, whose spirit is raised by modern day Satan worshippers. Film rights to the book were considered by High Five Productions (Universal Studios) back in the 1980s.
“It never took off, but it generated a lot of hope and interest,” said Gravelle.
Busy with his family life, Gravelle took a break from writing. When he picked it up again, he jumped right into his second book. For two years, he researched and wrote the book, which is set in London, England in the 1800s and tells the tale of Jack the Ripper. The book, The Fort Providence Watch, received a Certificate of Merit from Writer’s Digest Magazine.
Gravelle, who has also written short stories and plays, found himself finishing one book and starting another one right away.
“I have so many ideas in my head that I just sit down and start. It all comes together,” said Gravelle, 59.
His newest novel, The Bamboo Heart, tells the story of a young American soldier’s experiences as a prisoner of war in the Philippines during World War II.
Variety appears to be the spice of writing for Gravelle, who doesn’t maintain a specific style.
“I don’t have anybody’s style…I just like telling stories,” he said. “I have my own way of telling people a story. I like to open up their imagination and let them envision what they are reading.”
He also doesn’t stick to just one genre.
“I don’t want to get labeled as one kind of writer…right now, I’m still looking for my niche,” he said.
He believes his forte might just be the kind of writing he did in his crime mystery, The Igloo Boys.
The book, set in Westford, Massachusetts, is like The Sopranos, but in a small town, he said. Films Rights to The Igloo Boys were optioned by Star July Productions in California.
The author plans to write more mysteries.
As much as Gravelle loves writing, he also realizes he needs to spend some time on getting his works published. He compared writing a book with being a factory and making your own product.
“I just want to do the production, but I know I have to do everything else,” said Gravelle. “If you want to make it in this business, you really have to invest the time being the whole factory.”