The Dark on the Other Side

(No Series)

Beyond the insistent whisper of fear...

The house talked; Linda Randolph could hear it. The objects in it talked, too - chairs, tables, couches, a big, squashy hassock that squatted obscenely in a corner of the bedroom. But the voice of the house was the loudest. Sometimes it said, leave him; sometimes it walked, I wish he'd die. And sometimes its suggestion was more direct. Linda was afraid that, as her husband suggested, she was losing her mind. Either that, or her husband was truly involved with dark and brutal forces beyond the limits of human sanity...

My second re-read of Barbara Michaels this year.
It had the potential to rock a lot more than it did - it would have made a brilliant little novella. Instead, the middle sagged and slowed so much it became dull. The beginning was interesting, if not misleading into making the main seem completely unlikeable. The end was great, though, as is Michael's trademark. I do wish a page or two was more fleshed out for finale though. Looks like there are more things in heaven and earth after all...

Characterization isn't much to write home on. Michael is likeable enough, but his cat is the more amusing of the pair. Gordon was charismatic, as he was supposed to be, and perhaps the best written. The 'witch' friend Andrea was more annoying and draining than anything else. Maybe she was supposed to be comical, maybe she was supposed to be intriguing, but that mark was missed by an inch or so.

The lead woman, Linda, is never likeable, even when she shrugs off the bitchy persona. She switches from a weakling I wanted to shake to a woman who is trying too hard to be convincing in her strength. I really thought there'd be more on the servant side, some sort of revealed treachery or something, to explain how horribly she treated the maid. I guess living in that household would make one grouchy.

I wonder, after her salvation, did she miraculously sober up and kick the bottle habit too?

I'd think that would crimp their relationship. Sadly the relationship connection at the end isn't that realistic, anyway.

It's a shame the pacing was so unsteady, as the plot and potential were full-fledged GOTH. Michaels went heavier on that than normal. The end used a creation she rarely did in her other books. She used her usual religious pondering and intellectual hammering at existence of the supernatural.

I can definitely see the trademark Michaels with this one...but almost like another writer was influencing her as well. Good, but certainly not great. She did a lot better with other books.

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