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The House of Small Shadows [NOOK Book]


Catherine's last job ended badly. Corporate bullying at a top TV network saw her fired and forced to leave London, but she was determined to get her life back. A new job and a few therapists later, things look much brighter. Especially when a challenging new project presents itself — to catalogue the late M. H. Mason's wildly eccentric cache of antique dolls and puppets. Rarest of all, she'll get to examine his elaborate displays of posed, costumed and preserved animals, depicting bloody scenes from ...

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The House of Small Shadows

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Catherine's last job ended badly. Corporate bullying at a top TV network saw her fired and forced to leave London, but she was determined to get her life back. A new job and a few therapists later, things look much brighter. Especially when a challenging new project presents itself — to catalogue the late M. H. Mason's wildly eccentric cache of antique dolls and puppets. Rarest of all, she'll get to examine his elaborate displays of posed, costumed and preserved animals, depicting bloody scenes from the Great War.  Catherine can't believe her luck when Mason's elderly niece invites her to stay at Red House itself, where she maintains the collection until his niece exposes her to the dark message behind her uncle's "Art." Catherine tries to concentrate on the job, but Mason's damaged visions begin to raise dark shadows from her own past. Shadows she'd hoped therapy had finally erased.  Soon the barriers between reality, sanity and memory start to merge and some truths seem too terrible to be real... in The House of Small Shadows by Adam Nevill.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Catherine Howard is an auction evaluator who gets a chance at a treasure trove from the estate of M.H. Mason, master taxidermist and collector of dolls and puppets. But from the moment Catherine sees Red House and meets reclusive heir Edith Mason, she knows something is wrong. What Catherine doesn't realize is that it might all tie in with her own past and psychological problems. Nevill's (The Ritual; Last Days) language has a formal feel, which suits the trapped-in-amber Victorian mood of the Mason house and its creepy antique dolls and even creepier occupants. VERDICT From its gothic haunted house beginnings, written exceedingly well, the book evokes feelings of tension and dread in readers. But this meticulous scene-setting gets a little muddled as the story spirals to a deeper level of violence and Catherine begins to doubt what she sees around her. Fans of horror writers Ramsey Campbell and Richard Laymon might enjoy this.
Publishers Weekly
★ 05/19/2014
Unease escalates to stark terror in Nevill’s intricately plotted, character-driven shadow show of numinous ritual and madness. London auction appraiser Catherine Howard is an unstable young woman with a tragic past of “imaginary” playmates and an abducted friend. She is summoned to the infamous Red House in the English countryside to appraise the exquisite taxidermy and doll collection of deceased artist M.H. Mason. Soon her sanity is further endangered by malevolent Edith, the artist’s deranged and manipulative niece, as Catherine becomes fascinated with grotesque panoramas of uniformed rats reenacting wars and rooms of leering handcrafted dolls. Catherine’s unstable reality is engulfed by a twisted wonderland where shadows whisper, ghostly children walk, and life feeds art. The occult is internalized in her troubled psyche, inviting a dreadful symbiosis between the paranormal and perception. Nevill (Last Days) strengthens traditional gothic atmosphere and the haunted house motif with probing literary sensibility, eschewing simplistic scares for awe and lingering ambiguity. This emotionally intense, intellectually challenging supernatural novel explores secret geographies of conscience while raising hackles, and is addictively readable. (July)
From the Publisher
"Adam Nevill is a fantastic storyteller, a master of slow-building tension, and he's written a fever dream of a book.  House of Small Shadows is chilling, disorienting, and deeply creepy.  It has the feel of a cult classic, something horror fans will still be reading with immense delight fifty years from now."

  – Scott Smith, New York Times Bestselling author of The Ruins

"Modern storytelling...and old school terror. Very scary, highly recommended." —Jonathan Maberry, NYT bestselling author


"One of the most subtle and powerful writers of dark fiction - a unique voice."

- Michael Marshall Smith, New York Times Bestselling author

"Adam Nevill is a spine-chiller in the classic tradition, a writer who draws you in from the world of the familiar, eases you into the world of terror, and then locks the door behind you. The House of Small Shadows grows darker and takes on more menacing life with each step forward."

-        Michael Koryta, New York Times Bestselling author of THE PROPHET


Praise for Last Days:


Winner of the 2013 British Fantasy Award for Best Horror Novel  


"All I can say is, wow. What an amazing book. Last Days has just about everything I look for in a horror novel; it is well crafted, has a strong plot with believable characters and the horror sequences get under your skin and into your mind. And the images just won’t go away. You’ll find yourself replaying scenes in your mind for days." — Fangoria


"There are moments in Last Days that are so frightening, it feels like Neville is giving your heart a bare-handed squeeze. And as a rudimentary crash course in the art of guerrilla filmmaking, Last Days is top notch." — Bloody Disgusting


"Deliciously chilling." — Publisher's Weekly


"Horror fans will revel in this appropriately chilling tale of modern-day murder and mayhem that stretches back several centuries." — Booklist


"Obsession and megalomania, sex and power make for a sophisticated, literate and well-crafted paranormal horror." — Kirkus Reviews


"This is what a horror book should be." —Suspense Magazine

Kirkus Reviews
British horror author Nevill (Last Days, 2013, etc.) goes hard-core modern gothic when he sends a fragile woman to a derelict estate filled with bizarre treasures.Catherine Howard is a "valuer," an antique dealer’s appraiser. She’s been dispatched to Red House, "a perfectly preserved Gothic Revival house" near the English village of Magbar Wood, which she’s doomed to learn is a "mausoleum that honored loss and madness." The house is crammed with the work of M. H. Mason, a recluse who turned taxidermy into art. Mason's dioramas are "a window into hell," each displaying stuffed rats arranged as soldiers mired in the trenches of World War I. More grotesque, there’s a bedroom crammed with part-human, part-animal marionettes. Edith, Mason’s 90-something niece and only survivor, tells Catherine that Mason returned from WWI missing part of his skull and shut himself away, believing all humanity to be "vermin." Catherine’s back story weaves through the tale, "her memories all waiting in Technicolor with an audio track." She was adopted and raised near an abandoned school where disabled children were deposited. Her village was plagued by kidnappings, one being that of her closest friend. That tragedy sent Catherine into an emotional spiral, and brittleness plagued her early adult life, which was troubled by bullies, deceptions and failed romances. Nevill's setting and pacing are dead-on, and minor characters, like stumpy silent Maude, Edith’s housekeeper, are perfectly creepy. At first blush, Catherine believes Red House’s glories will make her professional reputation. Then come revelations of Mason’s wicked homages to The Martyrs of Rod and String, an ancient marionette morality play with a history that includes the public lynching of itinerant entertainers. Add Catherine’s desertion by her latest boyfriend and the appearance of her London nemesis, and the tale slithers toward a surreal denouement that installs new guardians at Red House.Nevill's talent for horror resonates ominously in every scene, almost as if the theme from Jaws echoes when a page is turned.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781466837386
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 7/15/2014
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 94,083
  • File size: 491 KB

Meet the Author

ADAM L. G. NEVILL was born in Birmingham, England, in 1969 and grew up in England and New Zealand. He is the author of Last Days (winner of the British Fantasy Award for Best Horror Novel) and The Ritual.  He lives in Birmingham. 

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 28, 2014

    Have you seen the movies Dead Silence and Puppet Master? Then yo

    Have you seen the movies Dead Silence and Puppet Master? Then you will immediately know how this book will end. The ending was disappointing. I feel a bit let down, as I waited four months to get this from the library on hold..

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 11, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

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