Monday, 10 March 2014

Did Not Finish… ‘House of Small Shadows’ – Adam Nevill (Tor UK)

The Red House: home to the damaged genius of the late M. H. Mason, master taxidermist and puppeteer, where he lived and created some of his most disturbing works. The building and its treasure trove of antiques is long forgotten, but the time has come for his creations to rise from the darkness. Catherine Howard can’t believe her luck when she’s invited to value the contents of the house. When she first sees the elaborate displays of posed, costumed and preserved animals and macabre puppets, she’s both thrilled and terrified. It’s an opportunity to die for. But the Red House has secrets, secrets as dreadful and dark as those from Catherine’s own past. At night the building comes alive with noises and movements: footsteps, and the fleeting glimpses of small shadows on the stairs. And soon the barriers between reality, sanity and nightmare begin to collapse…

Is a ‘Did Not Finish’ ever a good thing? Not often, I’ll admit, but every now and then it really is (in a way, kind of).
I finished Josh Malerman’s ‘Bird Box’ over the weekend and was in the mood for a bit more horror; ‘House of Small Shadows’ has been giving me the book equivalent of reproachful looks just recently so the decision pretty much made itself.
Well, that’s what I thought… What I hadn’t counted on is that Nevill gets better with each book and ‘House of Small Shadows’ was such a creepy book that I couldn’t finish it. If it wasn’t the tension being built up by the suggestion of old dolls creeping around, at the corner of your vision, it was Nevill brutally exposing just how damaged Catherine Howard is as a person. Add these two things together and, nope.. I just couldn’t go any further with ‘House of Small Shadows’, it was just too intense for me.

Is this the first ever ‘Did Not Finish’ that is actually a backhanded compliment? I think so :o) If you want to read some seriously scary stuff then by all means get stuck into ‘House of Small Shadows’. I’ll just stick my fingers in my ears and go ‘LaLaLa!’ very loudly if you try and tell me about it...

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