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Sinister House / Cold Harbour (Doubles Format)

by Leland Hall / Francis Brett Young

Published by Hippocampus Press

Print edition 2008

Reviewed by Mark Owings
Review posted 6/16/08

This is the second try by Hippocampus Press to revive the Ace Doubles format, though a lot more expensively and restricted to books that H.P. Lovecraft liked.

The Leland Hall half, originally published 1919, is set largely in a suburban planned community, with an old house nearby inhabited by a young madly-in-love couple and some malignant spirits. I liked the twist that the ghosts only show up when the husband is present, which provides a wonderful red herring. Effective and atmospheric.

The Francis Brett Young half, originally published 1925, is told mostly through the alternating viewpoints of a husband and wife, and the author makes them sound very different. Here we have what seems to be another haunted-house story, which turns out to be the case but in a quite different way than it appears to be. It has the conventional trappings of horror, used to conceal something of another sort entirely, and it changes from an apparent supernatural story to science fiction of a sort. This is a good exploration of spiritual evil, though I see why Lovecraft did not like the ending.

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