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The Hellfire Club Mass Market Paperback – Sep 2004


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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; Reissue edition (Sept. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345477278
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345477279
  • Product Dimensions: 17.4 x 10.9 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,949,393 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 an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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 an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Ghosttypewriter on 10 Feb. 2004
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 By Quackser on 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 By Peter Kenney on 11 Dec. 2003
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.
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Format: Paperback
This was my first Peter Straub book and overall I felt frustrated with the book.
Some of it is absolutely brilliant. The author shows a clear understanding of dysfunctional families based around a central bully, through Davey and his relationship with his parents. Interestingly Davey's father was a slight improvement on his grandfather.
The plot idea was inspired. Without spoiling it, I loved the revealing of the two later Driver novels. The way the book, Night Journey, was interweaved through the story was intriguing.
But the plot development between Dart and Nora just didn't ring true. There was too much contradiction going on, right from the outset. The Dart/Nora element just didn't work for me.
I found the read frustrating because there were parts I thought were brilliant but these were interspersed with long pauses where I found myself yawning at the unnecessary padding and description.
I will read another Straub book, just to see if the brilliance (and there were sparks of brilliance) is maintained without the mediocre bits in between.
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