Customer Reviews for

The Secret of Crickley Hall

Average Rating 4
( 11 )
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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2007

    The Evil that Men do Lives After Them

    James Herbert's latest book, The Secret of Crickley Hall, uses an old and established formula - 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)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... ...

    9 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 11, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    an entertaining haunted house thriller.

    One year ago five years old Cameron Caleigh vanished. His distraught parents American Gabe and Englishwoman Eve were frantic but he never was found. Desperately in need of a change Gabe and Eve accompanied by their daughters twelve year old Loren and five year old Calley move from London to Hollow Bay, five hours on the Motorway. Their new home Crickley Hall on Devil's Cleave looks grim and ugly.

    The family is unaware that Chester the dog howls at apparitions banging the walls and shaking the cupboards to rattle the first breathers in a decade to occupy Crickley Hall. The Caleigh clan begins to learn the history of the Hall especially what happened in World War II when London orphans lived there under the care of abusive Augustus Cribben until a flood apparently killed all the residents. As a grieving Eve turns to psychic Lilli to learn what happened to her son, Loren feels weak anytime she is indoors and Calley knows why Chester is howling; Gabe remains steadfast American unable to see what is happening to his family but may be too late when he finally accepts the truth.

    With a nod to the movie Poltergeist, The Secret of Crickley Hall is an entertaining haunted house thriller. The story line is fast-paced containing all the usual bumps in the night (and day). The WWII subplot brings poignancy while connecting the past with the present. The cast in the 1940s and today are developed enough to make the ghost story work although Gabe is the stereotype of an American seen through English eyes. Readers will enjoy learning The Secret of Crickley Hall.

    Harriet Klausner

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 19, 2011

    Too much Book, Not Enough STORY!

    It just went on , and on and on, with, for me very few surprises and intermidable words , words , words and useless dead end characters.When I say "boo!' it is a critique , not a feeling!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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