Saturday, August 20, 2016

Book Review: The House of Small Shadows by Adam Nevill

The House of Small Shadows by Adam Nevill

Hardcover, 320 pages

Published October 2013 by Tor

Winner of the British Fantasy Award for best Horror novel

I read this book based on the recommendation from Rob who slings books at San Diego's best book store Mysterious Galaxy. He really loved this novel and that was enough for me to check it out. Consider also that it was nominated for a British fantasy award for best horror novel. so take everything I have to say with a understanding this novel may just not have been for me. There is quality here, but...

This novel is the story of a woman named Catherine who is hired to to assess the value of the many dolls, puppets and battles scenes made out of animals stuffed by an artist taxidermist that makes up the creepy setting of the Red House. Catherine has a job to to do thus giving her the important haunted house trope of "why the hell do they stay."

If dolls and puppets creep you out then the red house in this novel is your absolute nightmare. Me personally I didn't find that creepy. I respect Nevill, he is clearly a talented writer and there were lots of elements that really worked there were just two elements that didn't work for me.

Catherine was not really a sympathetic character and in this case the suspense kinda depends on but worst of I don't find her believable. She was whinny and devoid of any back bone. Just didn't dig her at all. The second element I could not jive with was that the the book started strong but got weaker as the pages went along. I got bored in the second half, was starting to lose track of the story and felt there was no satisfaction the pay-off that was so well set up.

The author is talented and there was plenty of strong moments. I was unhappy with the ending but there are plenty of elements enough to get me back to check more of his work. I know this is a short review, I wish I connected to this book more.

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