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The Secret of Crickley Hall [Unabridged] [Hardcover]

James Herbert
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (472 customer reviews)

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Book Description

5 Oct 2006

The Caleighs have had a terrible year... They need time and space, while they await the news they dread. Gabe has brought his wife, Eve, and daughters, Loren and Cally, down to Devon, to the peaceful seaside village of Hollow Bay. He can work and Eve and the kids can have some peace and quiet and perhaps they can try, as a family, to come to terms with what’s happened to them...

Crickley Hall is an unusually large house on the outskirts of the village at the bottom of Devil's Cleave, a massive tree-lined gorge - the stuff of local legend. A river flows past the front garden. It's perfect for them... if it a bit gloomy. And Chester, their dog, seems really spooked at being away from home. And old houses do make sounds. And it's constantly cold. And even though they shut the cellar door every night, it’s always open again in morning…

The Secret of Crickley Hall is James Herbert’s finest novel to date. It explores the darker, more obtuse territories of evil and the supernatural. With brooding menace and rising tension, he masterfully and relentlessly draws the reader through to the ultimate revelation – one that will stay to chill the mind long after the book has been laid aside.



Product details

  • Hardcover: 600 pages
  • Publisher: Macmillan; 1st edition (5 Oct 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1405005203
  • ISBN-13: 978-1405005203
  • Product Dimensions: 23.8 x 15.8 x 5.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (472 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 366,104 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

James Herbert was not just Britain's number one bestselling writer of chiller fiction, a position he held ever since publication of his first novel, but was also one of our greatest popular novelists. Widely imitated and hugely influential, his twenty-three novels have sold more than fifty-four million copies worldwide, and have been translated into over thirty languages, including Russian and Chinese. In 2010, he was made the Grand Master of Horror by the World Horror Convention and was also awarded an OBE by the Queen for services to literature. His final novel was Ash. James Herbert died in March 2013.

Product Description

Review

'Herbert's well-honed skill with horror writing rears its head
when he throws his characters into confrontations with the ghostly
residents' -- The Glasgow Evening Times

'this is a powerfully disturbing read...Two pages in, the reader
is hooked, and Herbert has done his job' -- Guardian

Book Description

The Caleighs have had a terrible year... They need time and space, while they await the news they dread. Gabe has brought his wife, Eve, and daughters, Loren and Cally, down to Devon, to the peaceful seaside village of Hollow Bay. He can work and Eve and the kids can have some peace and quiet and perhaps they can try, as a family, to come to terms with what’s happened to them... Crickley Hall is an unusually large house on the outskirts of the village at the bottom of Devil's Cleave, a massive tree-lined gorge - the stuff of local legend. A river flows past the front garden. It's perfect for them... if a bit gloomy. And Chester, their dog, seems really spooked at being away from home. And old houses do make sounds. And it's constantly cold. And even though they shut the cellar door every night, it’s always open again in morning… The Secret of Crickley Hall is James Herbert’s finest novel to date. It explores the darker, more obtuse territories of evil and the supernatural. With brooding menace and rising tension, he masterfully and relentlessly draws the reader through to the ultimate revelation – one that will stay to chill the mind long after the book has been laid aside.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Kindle Edition 25 July 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
Not finished the book yet but wanted to warn other potential purchasers of the Kindle Edition that the formatting is awful. I (and my wife) have read numerous Kindle books and never once had a problem with formatting errors. In this book the errors are too numerous to mention in detail but it is spoiling my enjoyment of the book. Things like no spaces between words, no speech marks, what should be multiple lines running into a single line etc.... These errors occur on every page.
I am actually enjoying the story but it's hard going because of the above so the rating I have given is based on all these factors. Story 4.5 formatting 1.5

Edit: Just noticed that the Kindle edition is no longer available. I wonder if this is because of the problems above???
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56 of 61 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A competent and thorough ghost story 23 April 2007
By Mr. G. Battle VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover
The Secret of Crickley Hall is bound to be enjoyed by any supernatural fan. It's a haunted house story; a house with a terrible past; a house with echoes of sins committed within it's walls. You'd not be mistaken to note that this is old ground, covered many times before, several times by Herbert himself. What makes Crickley Hall different is it's competence. Although nothing original, Herbert has transformed a simple haunting tale in to an epic - one leaf short of 600 pages. The premise of a family renting the old Hall to escape a personal tragedy is well crafted and almost as soon as they arrive the supernatural events kick in. Herbert knows this genre and adeptly spins enough curveballs to keep you enthused. New and essential characters continue to arrive to prevent the story from becoming stale, right up until the end. Although the end could be predicted (since all ghost stories benefit from some closure if the purpose of a haunting is to be explained) the path winds its way through all the familiar territory, although it uses side alleys and back roads to get there. So although this marathon ghost story offers little in originality it's a good read. In fact it uses almost every cliche available unashamedly, and perhaps because of this it is one of the most assured ghost stories out there.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unoriginal But Very Good 24 Aug 2007
Format:Paperback
I just finshed this book about 30 minutes ago. I can see the points raised by other reviewers. I myself have left Herbert books unread after a few chapters and his writing style can be irritating (the way he feels the need to spell out reasoning in brackets kind of insults the intelligence). That said, I could not put the book down. I spend several evenings a week sitting in a quiet pub/restaurant reading and getting home to another night of steak, a few pints and this book was a highlight.

Like I said, nothing new but a page turner. I highly recommend it. To be honest, I've never read a horror that ended unpredictably.
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25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "The evil that men do lives after them" 5 Oct 2006
By Nolene-Patricia Dougan VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover
James Herbert¡s latest book, The Secret of Crickley Hall, uses an old and established formula ¡V an ageing, deserted Gothic house that has been left to decay because of some tragic event whose circumstances have been clouded by the passage of time. The villagers in the neighbourhood all have their own theories about what happened but no one really knows the truth. However, when a family { in this case the Caleighs ¡V move in, they find the house has been haunted by these past events, and is inhabited by ghosts with 60 years of repressed anger to vent.

Even though this is an old, established formula, it is also a very good one. Most horror writers use it at some point in their writing careers. (Herbert has used it at least once before with Haunted.)

An old Gothic mansion is a great starting point for a ghost story, with wind and rain crashing against the windowpanes, and strange noises and visions that have either ghostly explanations or, for the more cynical in the story, more rational explanations, such as tricks of light, and wind rattling through the floorboards. (Cynics are always the idiots in these stories: in this book the Dad of the family, Gabe Caleigh, insists that nothing is wrong, and there are no such things as ghosts, while everyone else { even you, the reader { is yelling at him just to get the family into the car and drive away!) But that¡s what we love about these stories { the atmosphere, and the stupidity of the people being haunted. (Personally, if I saw ghostly spectres dancing around my house or if my child insisted she had a new set of friends to play with who I couldn¡t see, I would be out of there!)

James Herbert¡s new book is a refreshing visit back to this old formula and fails to disappoint.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but we've been her before... 25 Jan 2007
By Matt
Format:Hardcover
This latest novel is a very traditional ghost story that borders on being cliched, but is kept interesting by Herbert's fertile imagination, and captivating writing style.

I have always enjoyed reading Herbert's work since the mid 80s when I came across him as a teenager. He peaked during this period with classics like Shrine, The Magic Cottage and Haunted. But since then he seems to have got stuck on the famous writer treadmill, churning out much the same formula each time, but with different settings.

There have been a few exceptions - Ghosts of Sleath and Others were atmoshpheric and original, but with this latest it just felt as an old Herbert fan that we've been here just too many times before.

The themes of ghosts being 'trapped' moving over to the other side was one of the main themes of his last book Nobody True and the haunted house scenario he covered in The Magic Cottage and Haunted.

What saves the book is the relentless atmosphere and tension Herbert builds around the house - a former orphanage with a murky past, the creepy cellar with its disused well, old toys in the dormitory from the 1940s. But much of the writing here is repetitive and frankly rather dull. Too many of the earlier chapters end with just a creepy sound, footsteps, or a cellar door opening, but then nothing more. I was hoping some ghost would just jump out of a cupboard and throttle one of the family members just to get the plot moving!

The family are very two dimensional in the story, with little room for character development - and the back story of them moving to the house after a bereavement I found a bit depressing, perhaps it is hard to write about this subject unless you have experienced that kind of tragedy first hand.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Kindle edition
I actually haven't finished reading this yet but am a fan of James Herbert, which is why I purchased. Read more
Published 5 days ago by Ms. Yvonne Noble
3.0 out of 5 stars Slow start but quite good overall
Not usually a fan of chilled books and this was long but after half way through I couldn't put it down. Will now watch the drama :)
Published 15 days ago by Kate0307
4.0 out of 5 stars so interesting!
i finished this book yesterday and just wanted to share my opinion. i really like this book, sometimes things were repeated but thats because it had to be! Read more
Published 19 days ago by amy
5.0 out of 5 stars the secret of crickley hall - read with light on.
Brilliant and scary. One of herberts best and I reckon I'v, probably read most of them.
Had to sleep with light on afterwards, always a good sign of a great horror.
Published 1 month ago by shazza
5.0 out of 5 stars The Secret of Crickley Hall
Sometimes I wonder what sort of tortured mind conjures up such plots. Gripping, tense, unnerving, intricate, unrelenting. You can't put it down.
Published 1 month ago by Alan Stopford
5.0 out of 5 stars Compulsive read!
I really enjoyed reading this fantastic book it was so gripping couldn't put it down! Loved the whole idea of it. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Pippa
4.0 out of 5 stars The Secret of Crickley Hall
An enjoyable and engrossing book, sad and emotional at times and as scary as any of JHs other horror stories.
Published 1 month ago by Herbert Lom
4.0 out of 5 stars A good ghost story!
I enjoyed this book, which I bought having seen the TV dramatization. Whilst there were differences, clearly this was because some aspects of the story would not have translated... Read more
Published 2 months ago by SK44
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant read
I couldn't put this book down. A fantastic read, I'm going to try another of this author books, lots of requests and turns, but a dark undercurrent excellent, glad I didn't watch... Read more
Published 2 months ago by LucyC
5.0 out of 5 stars good read
herbert kept the pace going right through. though he used every trick in the book it was non the worse for that- it just hit the spot for me. well worth the read.
Published 2 months ago by maureen
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