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The House of Small Shadows

3.41  ·  Rating details ·  2,424 ratings  ·  466 reviews
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. ...more
Hardcover, 375 pages
Published July 15th 2014 by St. Martin's Press (first published October 10th 2013)
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Average rating 3.41  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,424 ratings  ·  466 reviews

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Maxine (Booklover Catlady)
Wow! Gothic creepiness at its best. This book still has me thinking about it a week after reading it. This is an atmospheric, dark and delectable horror where Nevill lets your imagination fill in blank spaces. The stuff of nightmares.

Don't expect fast paced blood, gore and splatter. That's not what this style of horror delivers. In the subtleties are the darkest of things. A book that astounded me with its ability to yet again put me IN the book, Nevill does that to me everyone. I feel so close
Feb 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars, rounded up!

In House of Small Shadows, Adam Nevill has--what I consider to be--absolutely perfect pacing. The creepiness and "wrongness" confronted by our main character, Catherine, builds up steadily throughout the entire novel. We are not bombarded with too much information at once, just enough to positively leave you salivating for more. A book like this keeps your interest, and makes it near impossible for you to find "the right place" to stop reading for the night. I don't mind sa
May 18, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018, buddy-read
I'm not sure if my rating will be 2.5 or 3 stars. It was a bit of a hot mess at the end and I'm still trying to grapple with what it all meant. The beginning was promising and I really loved the idea of the plot.

Unfortunately, the book did not deliver for me. I'm also not a fan of weak main characters and Catherine was this in spades!
There were some creepy and unnerving moments in the book that pushed up the rating but it wasn't enough to save the book for me. I really wish Adam Nevill had figur
May 05, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, 2016-shelf
Honestly, there are a number of really nice things about this novel, mostly in the descriptions and a few fairly early-on reveals, such as the rotting beehive, that got to me. Other good things were the all out gorefest perfectly reminiscent of all the 80's B-Movie extravaganzas, including all the cheese, all the neatly wrapped-up characters in overblown situations brought together with even more convenient reveals until we get a nice gore-strewn bow made of intestines, or in this case, pre 1950 ...more
✟Roxanne✟(Death by Book Avalanche) ☠
1 Star Rating

I absolutely hate not finishing books, I really do, so I persevered with this one right to the end (mostly with the hope that it'll get better) but unfortunately I really didn't enjoy this. Instead of this one, I recommend reading The Ritual as I thought that one was a lot better.
My main reason for giving this one such a low rating was because I didn't understand it at all. None of it made sense! When I first started reading this book I was totally into it, I enjoy reading about
Nov 01, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Deliciously fucked-up.
Not my most eloquent review ever, but I just finished reading, and that's the best I can do.
So there.
Aug 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Utterly, totally bizarre and horrific novel. Ligotti-esque in vibe and feel, there are a handful of images in this book that won't leave me. ...more
Things Adam Nevill Ruined for Me:

The name Leonard
Old houses
The name Edith
The name Maude

Things Adam Nevill Made Creepier:

Marionette puppets

Despite this, and the fact that I read one other book by him, Adam Nevill is rapidly becoming a favorite author of mine. The House of Small Shadows is about a young woman named Catherine. After coming off a violent bullying tactic by a fellow co-worker, she leaves London and works for a smaller valuing firm. She might have hit the j
Aug 29, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I like Adam Neville - a lot - but "House of Small Shadows" was a just a major disappointment all around. I couldn't stand Catherine from the get go: whiny, desperate and not a strong female character. You can also see how everything ends from the first time she walks in Red House. The only interesting thing described in the book is the WW1 dioramas - super weird and slightly disturbing. At least in my head they were. Adam is a master of setting up creepy situations and making you feel like you a ...more
Jun 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of Psychological Horror
This was a highly creepy book and I will never look at dolls and puppets quite the same way. I've never found myself prone to nightmares after horror books/movies, but last night, as I was going to sleep, I started thinking of this... and the creepy figure crouched at the foot of Catherine's bed. Needless to say, my eyes popped open and I quickly decided to think about something else :)

There are things that are predictable in this and things that were less so, but overall it was just so incredib
Scott Rhee
Oct 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: new-weird, horror
Okay, well, that was some creepy shit... Which is, of course, to say that I loved it.

Seriously, though, if old porcelain dolls, marionettes, and puppets are the stuff of nightmares for you, avoid reading “House of Small Shadows” by Adam Nevill. Or expect a few sleepless nights in which you endure dreams of dozens of little porcelain or cloth hands trying to grab you from the shadows.

It starts off normal enough: Catherine is an appraiser hired by a reclusive old woman that lives in an old mansion
 Reading Reindeer 2021 On Proxima Centauri
Review: HOUSE OF SMALL SHADOWS by Adam Nevill

Within the great tradition of British horror is a narrower classification, which when cultivated properly, yields an amazing, abundant, harvest of terror. Of course this particular definition is not confined to the British Isles (I'm thinking of Gord Rollo's "Valley of the Scarecrow," and Thomas Tryon's "Harvest Home" as examples.) But authors native to England, Wales, Cornwall, Scotland, and Ireland excel. I refer to the tradition of "village horror"
Baal Of
What a dull, sleep inducing book. The characters were bland and uninteresting, especially the main character. It started off well enough, but then it meandered through what could have been a tension building path of increasing weirdness, but for me, I just became increasingly disengaged. I found no surprise in the various reveals, in particular around Edith, where I just kept thinking would you please fucking come out and say it; you've been dancing around for well over 100 pages by this point. ...more
Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
In the end the book wasn’t a hit for me. It started out interesting; I wanted to know the mystery with the house. Then the story goes weird and confusing. And suddenly I turned the last page and the book was over. And I felt let down. It was never ever scary, if stuffed animals creeps you out, then perhaps this book will scare you. But for me it felt just like a waste of time, I could have read something much better that this book.
Ashley Daviau
I had high hopes for this book because I’ve heard so many great things about this author and I mean, creepy doll on the cover! But this one just fell WAY flat for me. Things were so confusing at first and I constantly felt my attention waning because I wasn’t really sure what was going on. Some parts were wicked cool and incredibly fascinating but I just didn’t feel invested in the story and that made it a drag to get through because I didn’t particularly care one way or another what happened. T ...more
It's true that antique dolls, marionettes, and taxidermy are easy mood-makers in a horror novel, as are mad old ladies living in ancient, crumbling mansions and characters with a history of mental instability. Yet, Adam Nevill took all of these typical scary things to a new place for me and really freaked me the f*** out. My main criticism is that the fever pitch of terror he creates in the last half of the novel is sustained for too long and I started to get impatient with the way Catherine, th ...more
T.E. Grau
Aug 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
We read horror fiction - and watch slasher films, and gruesome documentaries, and online terrorist videos, and accident footage, etc. - because of what Joseph Conrad called "the fascination of the abomination." We like to view things that disquiet us, don't we? We hope that we see something that isn't meant for innocent eyes. Death revealed - and dodged - is as exhilarating as it is horrifying. Our minds sometimes can't take it, but also can't willingly turn away. We seek out the abominations, b ...more
Oct 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-books, read-2013
5 Stars

Adam Nevill has become my favorite horror author over the last several years. He was always second to the wonderful Catherine Kiernan who just does not write enough these days. (She was my former favorite and still would be if she put out new material.) Those of you not familiar with Nevill, he is a talent not to be missed. Like most of the British horror these days, Nevill is more concerned with the buildup, the suspension, and the atmosphere over our American quick scares and gory actio
May 14, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, books-i-own
This one took a while to get into. We do get some of the awesome scary as hell imaginery that I've come to expect from Adam Neville but it wasn't enough for me to rate this higher than 3 stars. The ending is bat shit crazy and a little messy. I didn't hate this one but it isn't his best, either. I will continue to read more by him, though. ...more
Nov 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror-faves
My third Adam Nevill book and this author is really scoring high points. Three cheers for Nevill and other British horror authors for writing the kind of books I like to read. Thank you, thank you, thank you for inspiring those feelings of dread and unease, and thank you for being so inventive with the creatures that inspire those feelings. You all could take the low road, like so many American horror writers, and go for the lowest common denominator with depressing, disgusting tales of human be ...more
Mar 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Messed up...Wow! (As I read this book in predominantly public places, I kept thinking "no one around me has any idea where my imagination is going right now.")
The book starts off introducing our main character, Catherine, an antiquity appraiser still reeling from a major fallout from her previous career and relationship. At a time when things couldn't get any worse, she is fortuned with the opportunity of a lifetime. She is tasked with cataloging the life works of a master taxidermist, which up
Kelly B

This extremely atmospheric novel is about Catherine, who is hired to value some objects at the Red House. The Red House is the estate of the reclusive Edith Mason, whose uncle was well known for his work with taxidermy. Catherine is very emotionally vulnerable: bullied as a child, and recently fired from her former job. As a small child, she was prone to trances where she (supposedly) hallucinated other children.

The Red House is one of the weirdest and most interesting houses I've read ab
Jan 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016
3.5 stars rounded up. This was a traditional horror story with all of the classic spooky and gruesome elements throughout. I could totally picture this as a movie while reading it, and there were a couple of times where I wanted to yell at the MC things like "No! Don't split up!" "Just get out of there already!" "What are you thinking, exploring the house?!". This book was just a lot of fun! ...more
Oct 19, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction

quoted from the text:

"A mind made strange with inebriation in oppressive darkness could see anything it wanted."

My lights will burn tonight. My dreams may nightmares be.

And if you are one who suffers from Pupaphobia I'd tread carefully here!

Apr 15, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
Adam Nevill continues to deliver for me. This was a creepy tale about a haunted house, insanity and best of all.......dolls. Not just dolls, all sorts of animals in human poses, mostly rates. Very spooky read, loved it!
Justin Steele
Oct 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Adam Nevill is an author who just keeps getting better and better. His third novel, The Ritual, won the August Derleth Award for Best Horror Novel, and helped bring more attention to his two earlier novels, Banquet for the Damned and Apartment 16. Nevill's follow-up to The Ritual, Last Days, was a solid novel despite a lackluster ending. Now Nevill is back with House of Small Shadows, which is doubtless his best work yet.

The cover and blurbs should be enough to get any horror fan salivating. Dol
John Wiltshire
Great stuff so far. I find it hard to even enter a room that has a doll in it (not the Barbie-type ones; the ones that look like taxidermied kids). So this is just great horror as far as I'm concerned. I'll update when done.
Well, huh. I finished, although to be totally honest, I was skipping by the end, eyes glazed and just flicking a bit too fast. Now, I know you can't expect horror novels about dolls to be great works of fiction, but they can be, well, just credible writing. Perhaps that's whe
Jeff McIntosh
I wanted to like this book - I really did. But, at 371 pages - it seemed to go on forever.

"Small Shadows" is the story of Catherine, who accepts a job to evaluate an antique doll collection at red House, former home to famous taxidermist M.H. reality, she's being groomed to take over ownership of red House, and all that it contains.

Obviously, things are not as they are presented, and Catherine quickly comes to doubt her sanity. There are links to a cult-like religion, with a sort of m
Oct 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It is a truth universally acknowledged that puppets and vintage dolls are somewhat sinister manifestations which leave the nervous in want of the undersides of their duvets or blankets. Adam Nevill not only hits the nail on the head, but he drives it right through the wood into soft yielding flesh, missing the femoral artery and its gushing gouts, as it is not that sort of horror novel, but that tip of hardened steel penetrates bone and nerve with agonising consequences.

The novel builds very sl
Abby Slater- Fairbrother
I recently read one of the authors latest novels under a watchful eye for review via netgalley. It really reminded me of my love for the genre, so I've been making a conscious effort to include more horror in my reading pile! I also wanted to distract myself from 2017 by falling into a good story.

This novel is very protagonist based & essentially that is what makes it work so well. Everything about the protagonist Catherine is surrounded in mystery, unhappiness and a general eerie feeling. Cath
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Horror Aficionados : House of Small Shadows - Adam Nevill 177 85 May 24, 2018 10:40AM  

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Adam L.G. Nevill was born in Birmingham, England, in 1969 and grew up in England and New Zealand. He is the author of the horror novels: 'Banquet for the Damned', 'Apartment 16', 'The Ritual', 'Last Days', 'House of Small Shadows', 'No One Gets Out Alive', 'Lost Girl', 'Under a Watchful Eye' and 'The Reddening'. His first short story collection, 'Some Will Not Sleep: Selected Horrors', was publish ...more

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