Review: Down a Dark Hall

For my first review, I’ve decided to read an older book. I’ve been revisiting books and authors that I liked when I was little. However, I don’t think I ever have read anything by Lois Duncan before. She is most famous for her book “I Know What You Did Last Summer.” I have never read this book, nor have I seen the movie, or if I did see the movie, I have forgotten about it.

This book was originally published in 1974, and the edition I read obviously came from the 1990s, due to an advertisement inside the book, “Get it on videocassette!” and the cover is very 1990s. The book seems a little dated to me, with the 1990s look, and the book references carbon copies and the characters all write letters. While this is not a bad thing, I can see this book as not getting checked out that often from the library, and it may not be relevant to the the target audience.

This book is gothic fiction, and I was really enjoying it, until the “mystery” was solved, then I felt a little disappointed. I didn’t find the final threat or antagonists to be horrifying. In a lot of ways, I think it’s more a psychological thriller than a ghost story, which is what I was expecting. I didn’t find the book to be scary, and I was expecting something a little scarier.

As for the characters, I think they were pretty well drawn, a few of them were bland, and I didn’t understand the point of Jules being an attractive young teacher. I liked the contrast of Ruth and Kit, the main character and the conflict between them towards the end of the book. I would have liked to see that expanded.

Overall, I would give the book a 5 out of 10. I did like it, but it didn’t pack the scare punch I was expecting, and I am a big scaredy cat, so that’s not that hard to do!

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