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Right Hand of Evil
by: John Saul
Review by Ciara Grey

I decided to take a foray into the horror genre this time to break things up. I chose to review John Saul's, The Right Hand of Evil. I have never read any of his novels so I had no expectations when I opened to the first page. I have kept my horror reading mainly with King, Koontz and Barker.

It started out slow and dragged on for a long while as the author set up the story. Redundancy came to mind while I read. He spent an inordinate amount of time going over the main character's drinking problem and how the cycle of life with an alcoholic is lived. Then he went on about the "Twin Thing", the psychic connection between twins. two of the characters were twins. This was a good example of covering territory repeatedly. I have been guilty of it myself and try to keep from doing whenever I can while writing.

Mr. Saul has the mechanics of writing down pat. No run on sentences that leave you breathless even when not reading aloud. No excessive use of passive voice. He created suspense in a few parts of the story, but it could have used a little more.

The main conflict of the story was vague. The Devil lives in this house where the unsuspecting family moves in. Horrible atrocities have been committed here but the author doesn't go into much of it until the very end of the book. The possibilities of a possessed house are not explored.

The oldest boy turns into a thug over night and the alcoholic father stops drinking cold turkey and is a very nice person. Yet no one seems to question any of this very much. True, they could all be under a spell or something but, no one gets suspicious right away.

Triumph over evil in the end was rushed and too easy. A girl waves a couple of golden crosses around, frees her twin brother from the grip of evil so he can kill the father and they walk out of the house just before it burns to the ground.

Meanwhile there are two Catholic priests standing outside hoping that the girl can save them all because they don't have the strength to enter the house and face down Satan. (Time to make a call to the Vatican and fire up the Popemobile!).

In summation, the characters suffer from the lack of conflict and a hurried ending.

Just because it was technically written well, I will rate this novel with
* * *

Rating Scale:
* * * * * = Un-put-downable, excellent reading!
* * * * = Good value, interesting reading.
* * * = Had potential, but could have been better.
* * = Slow, difficult to read, could have been improved.
* = Imminently forgettable.



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