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The Right Hand of Evil [Kindle Edition]

John Saul
3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (126 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $7.99
Kindle Price: $5.99
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Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

When the Conways move into their ancestral home in Louisiana after the death of an estranged aunt, it is with the promise of a new beginning. But the house has a life of its own. Abandoned for the last forty years, surrounded by thick trees and a stifling sense of melancholy, the sprawling Victorian house seems to swallow up the sunlight. Deep within the cold cellar and etched into the very walls is a long, dark history of the Conway name--a grim bloodline poisoned by suicide, strange disappearances, voodoo rituals, and rumors of murder. But the family knows nothing of the soul-shattering secrets that snake through generations of their past. They do not know that terror awaits them. For with each generation of the Conways comes a hellish day of reckoning. . . .

Editorial Reviews Review

John Saul has been giving readers the jitters since the publication of Suffer the Children in 1977. His 22nd twisted tale, The Right Hand of Evil is another nerve shaker.

The Conway family is in deep financial trouble. Ted Conway would rather knock back bourbon than support his family, and Janet Conway's career as an artist is going nowhere. Happily, the three Conway children--toddler Molly and 15-year-old twins Jared and Kimberley--seem well adjusted. Of course happy children to not make for good horror material, so dark times are just around the corner.

Ted receives an unexpected call from a Louisiana sanatorium, where his aged Aunt Cora is dying. Cora wants to convey a final message to her only surviving family members. She rasps out the ominous words, "I can see it. Stay away! Stay away from here!" Her words are futile--the financially strapped Ted moves his family into Cora's old house, a house deeded to them in a family trust.

Young Kimberley instantly feels a dark presence in the dilapidated Victorian house: "Suddenly her skin was crawling, as if a large insect were creeping across her neck." Tragedy upon tragedy strikes the family. Kim's beloved cat disappears and is sacrificed in a black-magic ceremony; an evil presence takes over Jared's mind--transforming him into the most rotten of bad seeds; the wails of a dead infant fill Kim's head, driving her to the edge of insanity. The family has fallen victim to a centuries-old curse--a curse that threatens to wipe out the Conway name.

Although there is nothing particularly original or earth shattering about this haunted-house story, The Right Hand of Evil is still a welcome piece of escapism. Read it at your peril. --Naomi Gesinger

From Publishers Weekly

Saul has trawled the trenches of the Gothic many times before (The Blackstone Chronicles, etc.), but this whopper of a nightmare tale has been fished from the region's purplest depths. Infanticide, insanity, miscegenation and black magic are in the mulch that nurtures the Conway family tree by the time Ted Conway moves his family to the small Louisiana town of St. Albans and into the house bequeathed him by his weird Aunt Cora, who was institutionalized for 40 years following the suicide of her husband and the disappearance of her newborn child. An alcoholic who can barely hold a job, Ted blossoms under the cursed house's influence and begins restoring it with a plan to turn it into a hotel. By contrast, Ted's teenage son Jared absorbs the taint that has infected generations of his ancestors and spits it back out in acts of juvenile delinquency and ritual animal sacrifice. Among the folks convinced that the transformation of both father and son are due to the same malignant presence are the parish priest, determined to drive the Conways out of town, and a voodoo practicing next-door neighbor, whose father was lynched by one of Ted's forebears. The spooky moments, which culminate (not surprisingly) on Halloween weekend, never quite add up. But Saul juggles clich?s at truly dazzling speed, and almost persuades readers that the holes in the plot are for catching one's breath while trying to keep pace with his dizzying twists. Doubleday Book Club main selection; Literary Guild selection.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • File Size: 903 KB
  • Print Length: 448 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0449005836
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (September 24, 1999)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000FC1K8E
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #101,622 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Recommended for the brave April 14, 2001
By C. Penn
Format:Mass Market Paperback
When alcoholic Ted Conway inherits his ancestral home in Louisiana, after the death of an estranged aunt, wife Janet accepts the move as the last chance for the family to stay together. She's almost immediately disappointed, however, and makes plans to leave with their three children and their dog. Then Ted has a remarkable healing, bringing about sobriety, and returning him to the man Janet fell in love with years ago.
The small town of St. Albans doesn't welcome the Conways. The communities' memories and rumors of the wrongs and evils perpetrated by the Conways extends even to the children. The house is said to be haunted. Certainly something evil exists within its foundations, a miasma that aims to mutilate and destroy that which is good or innocent. Ted's remarkable healing as result of the touch of evil will cost both his own soul, and possibly the soul of his son.
The estranged Aunt Cora who passed the house to Ted also passed the family bible to the parish priest. Within its pages are the recordings of the generations of Conway women who know the secret of the house's evil. As father Devlin discovers the tragic stories and locates the missing pages, the generations of evil begun at the hands of a priest lead him to the Conway house to aid the fight against a monstrous evil.
Having checked out the many of reviews at, I find it interesting that the higher marks come from readers like myself who haven't read a lot of John Saul's work. THE RIGHT HAND OF EVIL heavy grounding in Catholicism and Satanism won't be to everyone's taste, nevertheless, I found Saul's approach fascinating and addictive. The convoluted and twisted plot kept the pages turning quickly, and I find the origin of the evil within the Conway house fascinating. A remarkable tale in detail, such as the painted garden in the dining room, and rich characterization, I recommend THE RIGHT HAND OF EVIL.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome June 7, 2000
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is the 1st of John's books that I've read and the quality of this book has urged me to get another one of his writings, after I'm done with the pile I have now.
The Conways have been cursed. A trust means that they had to live in that old abandoned house in which rumours of death, evil and conspiracy had spread through the generations in the little town of St. Alban.
Janet's husband, Ted Conway, recovers from his decade long problem of drinking overnight and Jared, their eldest son, takes a turn from his twin sister, someone who was his closest friend since their birth. What's really going on?
I broke my own personal record by finishing this book within 10 hours. After reading the 1st 12 chapters, I did not want to stop. The story was very smooth flowing; the plot simple yet mysterious. The main characters were thoroughly developed and the words painted a totally spooky house of horror.
I was chilled within those first chapters and wanted to get to the bottom of the terror as quickly as I could. Very enjoyable.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Typical John Saul--too typical, in fact November 2, 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Saul's The Right Hand of Evil left me rather unmoved. It's a fairly enjoyable read, but it cannot be called highly original, scary, or awe-inspiring. This is pretty typical John Saul. A dysfunctional family of five-an alcoholic father, rather weak mother, a pair of adolescent twins, and an infant-faces desperation when Ted loses yet another job as a hotel assistant manager due to his drinking. Then comes a call that Ted's aunt, shut up in a sanitarium for decades, is dying. Suddenly, the family inherits a large, old house which Ted decides to make into an inn with the money left to him by an aunt he cared nothing about. Of course, trouble begins brewing immediately. The close-knit townspeople of St. Albans do not want anyone living in that evil house, abandoned for forty years-especially not another Conway. Conways in that house have always meant big, big trouble for the town; stories of murder and evil surround the old house, as do hidden eyes watching and biding their time. Hated and shunned by the whole community, her husband drinking more heavily than ever, Janet decides to take her children and finally leave. Miraculously, though, she finds that her husband Ted seems to have finally changed completely and given up alcohol. For the first time, the family begins to enjoy a normal life of sorts, but burgeoning happiness soon recedes back into terror as Jared, the first-born son begins to change, seemingly taking on all of the bad qualities his father has just overcome.
There's a story behind the history of the house, of course, one going back over a century (no surprise here; the whole ancient curse theme is Saul's trademark plot point). We gradually learn exactly what has taken place in the house, but this particular puzzle has few pieces missing to begin with.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Action-packed horror tale May 29, 1999
By A Customer
Ted Conway is shocked to learn that he inherited his crazy Aunt Cora's home in St. Albans, Louisiana. Ted and his spouse Janet agree a change in scenery might be just what they and their three children need. So with little to bind them to Shreveport, the Conway brood moves to their late aunt's home, a place that has been neglected for four decades, the time she spent in an institution.
The local folks seem unhappy that a Conway once again lives inside the Victorian home because that family denotes evil. The walls flow with violent death that infiltrate the male members of the new residence. As the previously pathetic Ted flourishes amidst his gloomy surroundings, his son's behavior turns ugly in direct proportion. Could an evil essence be transforming the souls of the Conways into something else?
John Saul is a fan favorite for his atmospheric horror novels that tear apart the guts of the reader. On the surface, his latest tale, THE RIGHT HAND OF EVIL, provides readers with the essential Saul tale as all the elements of a modern Gothic abound. Though the pace is quite fast and filled with action, the story line never decides between a true gothic and a psychological thriller. Additionally, readers never care what happens to the Conway clan. This novel is one of those could-have-been stories as the PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY flashes through one's mind with the teen representing the picture and Ted being Dorian. Instead of that twist, readers have a horror tale that fails to bring its many subplots to closure.

Harriet Klausner
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Intense
This book is very intense. One of his best. It is not for the faint of heart. I would read it again
Published 1 month ago by Judy Frazier
5.0 out of 5 stars I thought it a great story. I like the way John Saul writes
I thought it a great story. I like the way John Saul writes. He keeps you wanting to stay with the story regardless of what you should be doing. This was one of his best.
Published 1 month ago by G. Johnson
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Creepy Book
No part of this book is more memorable than John Saul's other classics, but it was simply an enjoyable, easy read. Read more
Published 15 months ago by MussSyke
2.0 out of 5 stars Made Little to No Sense
I used to love John Saul during my horror novel phase in my mid teens. Twenty years later, I find that he still writes the same kind of books... Read more
Published 20 months ago by Book Lover
5.0 out of 5 stars book came.
this book came yesterday.i am stunned at how fast it got here.great service.i am a big fan of john saul,the book should be great.
Published 20 months ago by angel contreras
1.0 out of 5 stars The right hand of evil
Of all the John Saul books I've read, this was the most gruesome sorry ever. Yes, he has style--- i just didn't like the story.
Published 22 months ago by Barbara
3.0 out of 5 stars Bad ending
I'll give it a B-. Could have been more graphic and gorey. The ending was horrible and rushed. Took away from the rest of the book.
Published on February 13, 2013 by Jen
5.0 out of 5 stars VERY good read :)
My grandmother gave me this book while I was on bed rest when I was pregnant with my son. and I have to say John saul book "The Right hand of evil" kept me enterained. Read more
Published on November 21, 2012 by Chrissy
1.0 out of 5 stars Not thrilled
I used to love to read John Saul's books - It must have been a teen thing, because this one just grossed me out.
Published on October 6, 2012 by Wendy Youngblood
5.0 out of 5 stars Insanely awesome! Spooky, eery, and disturbing! :)
The Right Hand of Evil was insanely awesome! The entire novel was spooky, eery, and frightening. There were many crazy and disturbing scenes. Read more
Published on June 4, 2012 by Erik J. Fostino
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More About the Author

House of Reckoning is John Saul's thirty-sixth novel. His first novel, Suffer the Children, published in 1977, was an immediate million-copy bestseller. His other bestselling suspense novels include Faces of Fear, In the Dark of the Night, Perfect Nightmare, Black Creek Crossing, Midnight Voices, The Manhattan Hunt Club, Nightshade, The Right Hand of Evil, The Presence, Black Lightning, The Homing, and Guardian. He is also the author of the New York Times bestselling serial thriller The Blackstone Chronicles, initially published in six installments but now available in one complete volume. Saul divides his time between Seattle, Washington, and Hawaii.

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