Monday, 23 October 2017

Cold Hand in Mine by Robert Aickman

Cold Hand in Mine by Robert Aickman
First published in the UK by Gollancz in 1975. Audio edition narrated by Reece Shearsmith published by Audible Studios in 2013.

How I got this book:
Downloaded the audiobook from Audible

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Cold Hand in Mine stands as one of Aickman's best collections and contains eight stories that show off his powers as a 'strange story' writer to the full. The listener is introduced to a variety of characters, from a man who spends the night in a Hospice to a German aristocrat and a woman who sees an image of her own soul. There is also a nod to the conventional vampire story ("Pages from a Young Girl's Journal") but all the stories remain unconventional and inconclusive, which perhaps makes them all the more startling and intriguing.

I took a chance on this Audible download as part of a two-for-the-price-of-one-deal having not read or listened to any of the author's work before. Sadly I struggled to get through to the end even though the collection of eight 'strange' short stories is marketed as Aickman's best. The author wrote subtle, creeping horror rather than out and out gore but unfortunately several stories are so subtle that I remained unmoved. Reece Shearsmith's odd narration doesn't particularly help either which surprised me. He sounds unrehearsed, continually halting mid-sentence and putting emphases where they don't seem to fit. The fifth story, The Hospice, is the best of a so-so bunch as its spooky atmosphere does build up nicely, but I wouldn't read any more Aickman after this experience.

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Books by Robert Aickman / Horror fiction / Books from England