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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
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...
Published on 23 April 2007 by Mr. G. Battle

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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 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...
Published on 25 July 2011 by DamBuilder


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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Kindle Edition, 25 July 2011
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 (Essex, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Secret of Crickley Hall (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
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 "Dougs" (Ravara, Ireland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Secret of Crickley Hall (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. It builds atmosphere, while recounting the tragic circumstances surrounding the happenings in the house, leaving you, the reader, to figure out the truth behind the mystery of what actually happened to the characters. This book has all the elements a good horror novel should. (An array of suspicious villagers, a psychic and a few covered up murders.)

In sum, The Secret of Crickley Hall is a good read { a must for Halloween, when the wind and rain are pelting against the windowpanes, and the only sound you can hear is the wind rustling through the floorboards¡K
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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 
This review is from: The Secret of Crickley Hall (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. This applies to the main character of Gabe who is supposed to be American - Herbert just doesn't convince here.

The characters from the past are much more interesting, from the schoolmaster Cribben, to Stafford the sadistic schoolboy informer.

If you want to read a classic ghost story in a modern setting, then this is a good place to start, but many Herbert fans may feel he has done this kind of story much more effectively before...
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101 of 119 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Herbert back to form, 22 Aug 2006
This review is from: The Secret of Crickley Hall (Hardcover)
At last Herbert is back at doing what he does best - a horror story. Nobody True and to a degree Once... didn't really hit the spot, for me, but The Secret of Crickley Hall is a marvel and really shows why James Herbert is such a respected writer. There are ghosts in Crickley Hall, there are personal - real life - horrors for the family who move into the hall too.

This is James Herbert's longest and most complete work and as the story slowly unfolds to the reader, the depth and intricate emotions of the characters really come to life in a way no other Herbert novel has ever done before.

When the secrets of Crickley Hall are finally explained there is a further chill to set the imagination rocking and that is typical of Herbert's very best fiction. My only criticism however: there should be a chapter before 6: Chester, to give more suspense to the disappearance of one of the characters; but that is only a small niggle in a very entertaining and totally gripping novel. Vintage Herbert, and that is something I haven't been able to say for some time.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Absolute rubbish!, 1 Sep 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Looking through these reviews I can't believe anyone could give this load of old tosh any more than one star!
Herbert uses every haunted-house cliche in the book...I had guessed the predictable plot after the first chapter, the main 'hero' characters were irritating & dozy, he repeated himself again & again & again and I swear he could have cut the book down by half.
I bought this for a holiday read & was really looking forward to a decent ghost story...I left it on the plane in disgust.
Borrringgggg!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Routine Ghost Story, 12 Nov 2012
By 
Dave (Liverpool) - See all my reviews
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I normally associate James Herbert with horror stories such as The Fog and Rats which I did enjoy but this story is basically just a different take on a routine type ghost story and it does not have anything special to recommend it.

I don't think it is giving much away as the reader learns very early on that the house was home to some children who were evacuated during the war and were mistreated by some of the people in charge of the place. The rear cover carries a quote from the Guardian "Powerfully Disturbing". I would completely agree that child abuse is very disturbing but the ghostly side of this story is very tame for Mr Herbert.

It is a story about a family, and the dog, who move in to a haunted house. It is stated on the back of the CD case that this family, the Caleighs, 'move into the house searching for some respite, seeking peace and perhaps to come to terms with what has happened to them'. As the house was rumoured to have been haunted it is a most unlikely place to seek such peace and respite.

The cover states "Complete & Unabridged " and at 14 CDs and 18 hours it was overly long. Some of this was to do with side issues that had little or no bearing on the story.

I listened to the story over a couple of nights driving a lorry to Scotland and as far as that went it passed the time but I would not have been impressed if I had actually given up my free time to listen.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Secret?- An abridged version may have been better?, 12 Nov 2012
By 
Glenn Cook (South Cave, near Hull UK) - See all my reviews
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Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
NOTE THIS IS A REVIEW OF THE BBC AUDIO BOOK -UNABRIDGED READ BY DAVID RINTOUL.
When offered to review this audio book on Amazon Vine I jumped at the chance.

I listen to all my audio books in the car and really enjoy this form.

Right to basics.
This is a very long and I mean l o n g unabridged version.
It is 14 discs long and over 18 hours so you really need to have some time set by or a series of very long car journeys to get through it.

The packaging is one of those sensible ones that stack the CDs up and do not break as soon as you get them out of the cellophane and look at them. So far so good.

David Rintoul is set with this book for a marathon. He has no backing tracks nor music and has to read all the conversations with authentic voices himself.

He has done a good job with this and handles it well.

I will not reveal the plot here.
Other reviewers have don that well and there are many reviews of the actual printed and kindle writen form that do that well.

This review focuses upon the narrative version.

I did find the story repetitive and by reading other reviews of THE AUDIOBOOK version I see I am not alone in this.
I truly believe a good abridged version would have equally done justice to the actual story of the book and have been a better listen.

I admit it has been a few years since I read any James Herbert but I must admit I did tend to flag after a few hours listening to stuff that did not benefit from repeating- there's a limit to the number of spooky sounds emanating from rooms and cupboards that I could put up with hearing for the nth time. And there are so many conversations that don't seem to go anywhere but drag the story out.

The story still is entertaining and is James Herbert.
That alone is a recommendation.
I was entertained.

But I must admit I finished the CDs with relief that they had actually come to an end rather that regret that such a fine book had ended that I get from other audio books.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good old fashioned horror, 3 Feb 2010
I really quite enjoyed "The Secret of Crickley Hall" since it was kind of like an old fashioned Twighlight Zone ghost story in some respects. You know the sort, an empty old grand house that has been left to rot due to lack of care due to a catastrophic happening, the circumstances of which have been put out to the realms where no-one dare talk about them. The local village community all have opinions about what happened but no one really knows for sure. Then after an age, a family takes the house on and then find that strange things start to happen and everyone except the father gets the feeling that the place is haunted by some very angry spirits.

Herbert gives a refreshing visit back to the typical haunted house type story and I found that I just wanted to keep on reading, not the best thing when you are reading at night before bed (the book is 600 pages long!!). The story has a tremendous atmospheric feel about it and Herbert intermingles all the past goings on of the house well while leaving in a few cliff hangers as to what really happened to the people in its past. It certainly gets the old grey matter working overtime. This book essentially breaks down to being a good classic horror read so will appeal to most readers that like anything remotely ghostly. However for me Herbert's best work will always be "The Rats" followed closely by "The Magic Cottage". Still, it was a damn good read.
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The Secret of Crickley Hall
The Secret of Crickley Hall by James Herbert (Hardcover - 6 Oct 2006)
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