A struggling playwright—Holly Sherwin—her musician girlfriend, and a few friends find a creepy old mansion on an isolated hill from which to rehearse Holly's most ambitious play. Ignoring the red flags about the house and setting, the friends soon find themselves fighting each other—and the house itself.
An exciting and risky venture ... Fans of Elizabeth Hand...will want to hear her particular voice, and her uncanny ability to combine the edgy and the ethereal. It’s a difficult high wire to walk. Bringing these two heavy-hitting novelists together could alienate fans of both authors ... I’s thrilling to find that A Haunting on the Hill is a true hybrid of these two ingenious women’s work — a novel with all the chills of Jackson that also highlights the contemporary flavor and evocative writing of Hand ... Many terrifying pleasures.
Shot through with...witchy sacrifice ... There are some direct echoes of Jackson’s novel here ... For the most part, though, Hand is responding to the source material on a deeper level, echoing Jackson’s structure, characterization and storytelling beats rather than relying on superficial similarities ... And, above all, it’s scary. Hand’s facility with language and atmosphere and use of short, propulsive chapters work their own dark magic on the reader. It’s a compelling and frightening novel, but did it need to take place in Jackson’s universe? Probably not — and that’s why it works.
Hand is funny ... Also is adept at connecting the creepy noises and disappearing objects of Hill House to the psychology of the four characters, each of whom is hiding something ... Of course there's something malevolent happening at Hill House. We know it on Page 1 and, although it takes these four dolts about 200 pages to get with the program, it's a measure of Hand's precision and skill that we have so much fun watching them put together the pieces that doom them.