Tuesday, 22 September 2015

GoodRead - The Small Hand

This was meant to be my review for Halloween. For once, I wanted to read and review a story for Halloween and I thought it would be perfect. I mean, Hello! It says so on the cover - A Ghost Story. 

I have read two of Susan Hill's ghost stories before - The Woman in Black (review here) and The Man In The Picture (review here), and I have two quite different opinions of these titles. So this is my third and the story I hoped was going to make my opinion for Susan Hill's ghost stories go one way or the other.

Adam Snow is an antique bookseller. Late one day, on his way home from a client, Adam gets lost and finds himself at an old abandoned house and its gardens. Finding no one there, he's about to leave, only to feel a small hand grip his. But there is no one at the house or the gardens.

Soon, Adam starts to feel like he is being haunted by the small hand. But is he really haunted by a ghost or is he gripped by panic attacks and hallucinations?

Am going to admit this. Out of the three Susan Hill's ghost stories I have read, this is a my least favourite. Maybe I wasn't in the right mindset for the story, but I found it a little dull. I was hooked by the end for the first few chapters, but my attention kept wandering and, at one sitting, where I wasn't feeling so great, I read a huge section and nothing sack into my brain. It left no trace, and I didn't once feel uneasy by the story and the haunting.

My biggest issue was the writing style. In The Woman in Black, the style fitted perfectly because it was set back in the early 20th century. But The Small Hand was a modern story - they was mention of emails and texts - and it felt out of place. I don't know why, but every time something modern was mentioned or appeared, I was instantly thrown out of the story. It never felt right.

But, the writing does carry a sense of unease. Susan knows how to write that, but the feeling of unease can only go so far and I wanted something to happen. Something that would creep me out (and I can get scared very easy so I was awaiting the scare in a mix of excitement and fear). But it never came. There was a conclusion but nothing else. Where was the pay off for this story?

Another thing I wasn't happy with was when information was dropped in. I get it's a story and things can't be put right at the start, but there was one or two bits of information that was thrown at us and, while they served a purpose for the story, it felt like these were rushed in. There were dropped in as an afterthought, even. That I found jarring.

I admit that this wasn't the type of story I normally read, but out of the three, I would say read The Woman in Black if you want a ghost story that will creep you out. But this is my opinion, and from the other reviews I have read, I am in the minority so if you want to read this, read it! Please don't let me stop you! Because this wasn't my cup of tea doesn't mean it won't be yours!

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