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The Hellfire Club [Mass Market Paperback]

Peter Straub
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Sep 2004
They are dying, one by one: wealthy middle-aged women in an exclusive Connecticut suburb. Their murderer remains at large. Nora Chancel, wife of publishing scion Davey Chancel, fears she may be next. After all, her past has branded her a victim. . . .

Then Davey tells Nora a surreal story about the Hellfire Club, where, years before, he met an obsessed fan of Chancel House’s most successful book, Night Journey—a book that has a strange history of its own. . . .

Suddenly terror engulfs Nora: She must defend herself against fantastic accusations even as a madman lies in wait. And when he springs, Nora will embark on a night journey that will put her fears to rest forever, dead or alive. . . .


Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; Reissue edition (Sep 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345477278
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345477279
  • Product Dimensions: 17 x 10.6 x 3.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,378,775 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

‘Far and away the best book Peter Straub has ever done … moves like an express train. Dick Dart alone is worth the price of admission.’
Stephen King

‘Enough fearful twists for everyone … wildly inventive, highly entertaining … the story lifts off the page and soars irresistibly.’
New York Times

‘Powerful psychothriller suspense … complex, intriguing, with multiple, meshing plots in which the sins of the past power the active evil of the present.’
Washington Post

‘Straub’s most riveting read since Ghost Story … a harrowing, spellbinding story.’
Bradford Morrow

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From the Back Cover

MASTER STORYTELLER PETER STRAUB’S FINEST NOVEL YET IS A NERVE – JANGLING THRILLER OF ASTONISHING PACE, FEATURING ONE OF THE MOST HYPNOTIC KILLERS EVER CREATED

Family-run publishing company Chancel House suddenly faces financial ruin when rumours about the true origins of their cult fantasy best-seller 'Night Journey' unexpectedly surface. But the Chancel family’s nightmare has only just begun – for brilliant killer Dick Dart, whose cunning is exceeded only by his depravity, is about to kidnap Nora Chancel, taking her on a terrifying trip that has alarming echoes of 'Night Journey'. Cut off from all outside help, with nothing but her own sharp wits to defend herself, Nora soon comes to realise that the only hope of outfoxing her obsessed captor lies in unravelling the truth behind this mysterious book.

“Enough fearful twists for everyone … wildly inventive, highly entertaining … the story lifts off the page and soars irresistibly”
NEW YORK TIMES

“Dick Dart alone is worth the price of admission – he is a fabulously original character. 'The Hellfire Club' moves like an express train – very fine work indeed”
STEPHEN KING

“Powerful psychothriller suspense … complex, intriguing, with multiple meshing plots in which the sins of the past power the active evil of the present”
WASHINGTON POST

“Straub’s most riveting read since his classic 'Ghost Story' … a harrowing, spellbinding novel”
BRADFORD MORROW

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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First Sentence
AT THREE O'CLOCK in the morning, a woman named Nora Chancel, soon to be lost, woke up from the usual nightmares with the usual shudder and began for the thousandth time to check her perimeter. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars
3.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By Jonah
Format:Paperback
This is my all-time favourite Peter Straub novel. I've just recently finished reading it for a sixth time, and I absolutely adore it. There's so much to savour. I have so many favourite parts: the history behind "Night Journey" (which is obviously reminiscent of "The Lord of the Rings") - Paddi Mann and The Hellfire Club of the title; Dick Dart's wonderfully twisted campness; Daisy's hysterics after misinterpreting Nora's opinions of her sprawling novel (the Poison family are hilarious); the brief but intense flashbacks to Nora's Vietnam experiences; the story of the tragic poet Katherine Mannheim and Helen Day, the 'Cup Bearer'; and finally the brilliantly brutal finale at Shorelands. I highly recommend this excellent novel. If you've read Straub before, you'll love it. If you've never read him before, this book is the perfect introduction to his world. The novel is so multi-layered, you'll want to read it again and again.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Something nasty in the woods, Ted 26 May 2011
Format:Paperback
Peter Straub has fun with his evocation of the in-fighting and back-biting of the literary world of the late 1930s in a plot that roots present Evil in a big Something that happened way back then. Fine writing in the opening, evocative sections of the book really sets up the reader for something rich and mysterious. Which never quite arrives, unfortunately.

The market-required mega-length of these doorstop thrillers (this one clocks in at just under 600 pages)works against any sense of unescapable intimacy that the story sorely needs. The characters- some of whom are very well wrought- suffer from the overarching requirement that they ultimately must act as little more than plot-delivery devices. That same reduction prevents most of the characters from rising above being mere "types", forced to go wherever the Big Reveal demands, so the novel is ultimately a very skilful exercise in arranging the usual generic elements to achieve very familiar ends. The "star" of the book, the serial killer Dick Dart, stops the book dead whenever he appears. He's a tedious, obsolete variation on the "charming" psychopath (if "The Hellfire Club" ever gets made into a movie, the part will almost certainly be offered to Johnny Depp or Robert Downey jr.)who never really belongs in the story for any reason other than a splash of blood-drenched fireworks every hundred pages or so.

Overall, Peter Straub's skill as a professional writer of giant horror paperbacks is never in doubt. As weak as the book is, as much as the elements never click, this is still a lot better than the average of its type. Straub is no Stephen King imitator- the roots of his storytelling are clearly writers like Dickens and Wilkie Collins. But mashing this influence together with the requirements of the contemporary market for horror blockbusters does his skill no favours. This is the first of his books I've read. I'd certainly read another.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
On one level this book is about dishonesty among publishers, authors, editors and lawyers. It is also about strong-willed fathers whose destructive acts affect succeeding generations. There are many different strands to the book, even one dealing with ultra-secret societies at Yale. Peter Straub is able to weave these pieces together with skill and the result is a riveting story.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Format:Paperback
On one level this book is about dishonesty among publishers, authors, editors and lawyers. It is also about strong-willed fathers whose destructive acts affect succeeding generations. There are many different strands to the book, even one dealing with secret societies at Yale. Peter Straub is able to weave these pieces together with skill and the result is a riveting story.
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