Customer Review

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Don't read this after a well-written book, as its incompetence will drive you insane, 14 Nov 2007
This review is from: The Secret of Crickley Hall (Paperback)
Having not read any Herbert since Rats when I was around 13, I picked this up along with The House at Riverton, hoping for another great old house story. The first couple of pages are intriguing, and that drives you on (the narrative does its best to make you give up), but by about page 100 you know exactly what happened and I found it very hard to finish. Herbert's writing style is so annoying, clearly in need of an editor (he told us the same thing three times in two pages). It all just felt rather amateur. Which distracted from the creepiness Herbert was attempting to cultivate.

Having said that, I did genuinely shudder reading this book. Doing most of my reading at night, it did take me a while to shut down after having switched the light off. Maybe that's just my loving a ghost story. The secret of Crickley Hall is disturbing, but nothing is revelatory in the end, you're not surprised and don't really much care for the characters. I envy the readers who didn't finish, as I feel I met a lower form of life within the book, and a lower form of writing.

Herbert's feeble attempts of characterisation are pathetic and annoying, as is all the engineering talk. I did wonder if this would be relevant in the end, but no. I think Herbert just wanted to show what he'd learnt in his research.

This book was very disappointing and I will not be bothering with any more Herbert. I will however, be returning to my shelves of Stephen King, a phenomenal writer who does not waste your time with half-arsed drivel.
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Showing 1-7 of 7 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 14 Nov 2007 13:58:09 GMT
Kevin says:
An excellent review from Haraniya. I used to like Herbert's books and enjoyed The Rats all those years ago. I was thinking of revisiting the authors work but based on this top notch and fair-minded review i might just give Crickley Hall a miss. Yep its time to dig out Mr.King for some genuine chills and great characterisations. Many thanks to the reviewer.

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Nov 2007 11:52:32 GMT
Last edited by the author on 12 Dec 2007 22:19:27 GMT
A. Steffe says:
Thank you very much Kevin. I really wouldn't bother with Crickley Hall. Even disturbing books can be a pleasure to read, which this definitely was not. Appalling writing. How this was a bestseller is beyond me.

In reply to an earlier post on 8 Dec 2007 08:56:20 GMT
I really don't agree with you at all. This is one of Herbert's best novels as testified by the sales and the majority of other viewers. There's nothing wrong with a good ghost story and your review basically says that, then you decide it's rubbish. Your review is a bit weird and inconsistent. And why take a swipe at Herbert's fans? I'm certainly not illiterate - I have a PhD. This is just a good old-fashioned yarn.

In reply to an earlier post on 12 Dec 2007 22:19:12 GMT
A. Steffe says:
I'm sorry, I didn't mean to offend. I was just so disappointed with his writing. I love ghost stories, when they are well written and compel me to read them, but James Herbert's did not offer either of these at all. I did not enjoy the book, did not want finish it (although I did as I have never not finished a book) and was left feeling short-changed. I was going to buy other Herbert books but this really put me off. I understand not everyone will have this reaction to The Secret of Crickley Hall. I will remove that comment about his fans.

In reply to an earlier post on 19 Mar 2008 09:44:04 GMT
Fishman says:
There is nothing wrong with a good ghost story and when Herbert writes one, do let me know.

This is without doubt Herbert's WORST novel, he's put out some rubbish lately, but this one is utter tripe! It is so amateurish and he has completely lost it. There hasn't been any edge to Herbert for the last half-dozen novels.

I've read Herbert since ~1980, but I've had enough. I'll be reading a fair chunk of the next one in a book shop before I hand over my cash to him.

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Aug 2010 19:14:47 BDT
Dr. Mabuse says:
The only thing disturbing about this book is that it was published!!

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Aug 2010 19:24:16 BDT
Dr. Mabuse says:
Gary, 'sales' do not testify that a book is good! Just check out any book charts! Reviewing is subjective and anyone giving this book 5 stars must be having a laugh. The book, like many of his later works, is dreadful and astonishingly boring. It certainly is not 'a good old-fashioned yarn'....with or without a PhD. Herbert used to write excellent 'horror genre' novels. Since then his stories are just recycled through each book. Now he's just, well a herbert!
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