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VINE VOICEon 3 March 2004
I own a twenty year old paperback copy of Carnacki the Ghostfinder, bought for me as a Christmas present by one of my Uncles when I was but a child. I'm now in my thirties and I've returned to this book regularly ever since, no matter which way my literary leanings have taken me.
You see, despite the relatively simple writing style, and the occasional tweeness, all of the stories in this collection have something in common - they are believable and genuinely tense and scary.
Carnacki is a psychic sleuth - Edwardian Britain's answer to Jonathan Creek - sent to investigate ghostly goings on that may, or may not, be caused by unexplained phenomena. What sets Carnacki apart from many similar creations is that he isn't presented as a "know-all" and is often as scared of the situation he is in as the reader is meant to be . What sets the stories apart from similar creations is William Hope Hodgson's refusal to let them become supernatural freak-fests; the terrifying events are described in down-to-earth terms and their impact on the characters in the stories is more important than the explanations given to them.
There are three absolute gems in here - The Hog, The Horse of the Invisible and, in particular, The Whistling Room, which is both chilling and utterly believable.
William Hope Hodgson's stories heavily influenced HP Lovecraft (widely regarded as the father of modern horror) and it's easy to see themes Hodgson created being built on in Lovecraft's Cthulhu mythos. Later horror and occult authors, including Tremayne and Wheatley, have acknowledged Hodgson's impact on their writing. Hodgson was out of print in the UK from 1913 to 1973; American publishers kept his writing alive during this period. That Carnacki is still being read now, nearly a century after the stories were written, should be evidence enough of their strength, and I would recommend them to everybody. Especially the writers of Jonathon Creek, who seem to need a nudge in the right direction.
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on 3 August 2003
I have owned a copy of this book for over 15 years and have read it dozen's of times, and each time is like the first. Every story makes the hairs stand up on the back of your neck and when you turn out the light when you go to bed you'll swear that you are not alone. I have read horror stories by many authors but this book is still a firm favourite, I look over my bookcases trying to decide on what to read and this one just jumps of the shelf. You never tire of reading about Carnacki's experiences. I can't rate this book highly enough, get yourself a copy, NOW!!!!
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on 6 November 2014
You're privileged again. 2 reviews of this one.

Review one: If you own a Kindle and read horror then you must get this......end of. IT IS FREE!!!!!!!

Review two: Thomas Carnacki is an Edwardian ghost hunter. Each time he goes on an adventure, when he returns he calls his 4 close friends Dodgson, Arkright, Jessop and Taylor to his house for dinner and a story. Carnacki is a very forthright chap. He is very set in his ways and can come across as curt in many instances but his friends keep coming back for more. The evenings follow the same pattern. Carnacki lets his guests in but doesn't speak to them initially. They settle down to dinner for about an hour then follow Carnacki to the fireside where he tells them about his latest "case". The minute his story ends he exclaims "Out you go" and they leave.

Sound weird? Well trust me it's a pattern that works extremely well. There are 6 stories in this book detailing various tales from a castle that drips blood, a family with an apparent curse on the first born child if it is a daughter to the case of the ancient dagger that attacks people by some invisible force. Now I am reliably informed that Hodgson wrote 9 Carnacki stories. If you are lucky enough to find a copy with all 9 in it please let me know because I can’t seem to find a version I can get in the UK.

Now I have only recently discovered William Hope Hodgson. I wish he were around today because I would be all over his Facebook page. Alas these stories were written between 1910 and 1912 and Hodgson was tragically killed in World War 1. The writing is just wonderful. The language used just adds and adds to the stories. The atmosphere that Hodgson emits in these stories is spine tingling. Genuinely full of tension and horror at every turn. You cannot help but imagine the sights, the smells. You genuinely get so wrapped up in the stories that you have to give yourself a shake and get back to the real world. That is high praise indeed. You have to keep reminding yourself when reading this that it is 100 years old and it tears strips off some of the novels I read today.

I cannot go on about this book enough. Well I could but I have a bed to go to and you would be bored. I will sum it up very easily. Book brilliant. Buy it. Or get it for free if you have a Kindle. I guarantee if you do, you will love it and come back to me to say "You were right oh great Nev, this book is superb!"

Absolutely 5 stars. This is where it all started.
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on 13 June 2016
I first discovered Carnacki in the 1971 tv series Rivals of Sherlock HolmesThe Rivals Of Sherlock Holmes - Series 1 [DVD] [1971]. Played by Donald Pleasence, Carnacki investigates The Horse of the Invisible in what was then, for me at age 12, a truly frightening experience. I found the book in a little bookshop in Saffron Walden years later and was not disappointed by the read. Although some of the stories are not as scary as that one, they are nonetheless all really rather good and I would not hesitate to recommend this book to any detective or supernatural fan.
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VINE VOICEon 4 January 2003
I think this is a very good book.It contains ghost stories related to friends by a professional ghost hunter.He uses modern (early 1900's)equipment,like an electric pentangle he has invented.Some of the tales are very scary indeed,like The Gateway of the Monster and The Whistling Room,and sometimes it's a bit like Scooby-Doo and the ghosts are fake,but I'm not telling which ones.
I found it really entertaining and thoroughly enjoyable.
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VINE VOICEon 1 June 2008
I first read these stories as a teenager and was very impressed by them
Especially by THE WHISTLING ROOM,which is also a kind of legendary tragedy,
If I recall,of the presumptuous jester...An amazing tale and I am amazed
That no filmmaker has seen fit to film any of his work,given so much of the
Corny crass dross that floods out of the Hollywood horror mills with the
general exception of Steven King-based stuff...Hope Hodgson also wrote the
Great novel THE NIGHTLAND which would be wonderful filmed as would several
Stories in this collection where the 'Fictional Activist' is presented as
Openminded rather than as a partisan materialist or Spiritualist...Read his
Other work,too.The Night LandThe Ghost Pirates
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on 21 June 2012
I've always loved the Carnacki stories and was pretty happy to find this for Kindle. The format is pretty good although it only includes the six first stories, but not The Hog, The Haunted Jarvee or The Find, which is a real pity.
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on 21 June 2014
Written in an often convoluted and idiosyncratic style, which does take some getting used to, the actual ghostly tales themselves are very rewarding both in their ideas and in the images they conjure up.
I remember reading in a battered paperback copy of The House On The Borderland that Hodgson was actually not a very good write but he always managed to have several ideas that stuck in the memory and that certainly holds true here.
There are a few typos and repeated sentences but considering the book is free and brings Hodgson's works out of the shadows, more then makes up for any shortcomings.
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on 15 February 2014
These are all quite enjoyable even if the reasons given for the haunting is sometimes beyond ludicrous. The source of the evil smell being easily the daftest. What? How? Why??? But then if you are unwilling to make a major suspension of disbelief then you shouldn't really be reading ghost stories should you. A real influence on ghost stories ever since. You will find them a good way to pass the time;
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on 28 August 2014
Classic period horror, probably unfairly overlooked by Poe, Stoker, Whatley, Lovecraft fans. Worth a read though as Hodgson, through these short stories, manages to create a detailed supernatural milieu not too dissimilar to lovecraft..
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