Right Hand of Evil
by: John Saul
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
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
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
* * *
* * * * = Un-put-downable, excellent reading!
* * * = Good value, interesting reading.
* * = Had potential, but could have been better.
* = Slow, difficult to read, could have been
* = Imminently