The House That Jack Built
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The House That Jack Built

3.82 of 5 stars 3.82  ·  rating details  ·  925 ratings  ·  40 reviews
After Craig Bellman, a successful young New York lawyer, is horribly injured in a street mugging, he and his wife, Effie, retreat to the Hudson Valley to restore his health and save their relationship. When they discover a derelict old mansion, Valhalla, Craig becomes fascinated by it. He ignores Effie's misgivings and starts to make inquiries about buying it, undeterred b...more
Mass Market Paperback, 400 pages
Published June 13th 2000 by Leisure Books (first published 1995)
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Community Reviews

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Nancy Oakes
One of my favorite horror stories ever.

Now here's a book that truly merits the title horror story. I stayed on this pretty much until I finished it because I just had to find out what happened. The scare goes on page after page and doesn't let the reader down.

The story begins with Craig Bellman is hurrying off to join his partner at a restaurant where he & his law partner, along with a very important client, are celebrating a million dollar deal. He is in a taxi, and the the streets are gri...more
Grace
May 27, 2009 Grace rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: no one
Shelves: suckfests
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Daniel Russell
After the Harrow books by Douglas Clegg and this, The House That Jack Built by Graham Masterton, remind me never to invest in real estate near the Hudson river. Jeez.

Yes, it's haunted house time again on my recent run of Leisure published haunted howlers. The last one I read was The Reckoning, by Sarah Pinborough. Whereas that haunted abode was a modest house in an English village, Jack's House is on a much grander scale. But do bigger houses produce bigger scares? Read on.

Spot the lyric time? O...more
Kristen
Of the Graham Masterton books I have read, this one drew me in and held my attention from beginning to end better than any of them. I love a good haunted house story, big creepy houses hold so many possibilities. The book starts out strong, we have a jerk named Craig who is a pretentious lawyer type who manages to get himself into some fairly gory trouble. Flash forward to his loving wife taking him on a trip to help him "sort himself out." There they stumble across Valhalla, the monstrous home...more
Ken
A dilapidated NY estate becomes the obsession of a NY attorney after he has a life-changing "accident". In pretty quick order, the builder of the estate, who disappeared in 1937 under mysterious circumstances, begins to possess the attorney, and his sadism, gambling and dark behavior follows.

I thought the book was well written but was annoyed by a couple of scenes late in the book. An appraiser turns up with a fairly valuable piece of information that seemed odd to be in his possession. There wa...more
Jane Doe
Great story, really creepy but by the end of this story I didn't like any characters. Couldn't stand the people. The husband was a cheating jerk and got what he deserved in the first part of the book and later. The wife was tstl, she would set women back a long way with how she thought. Yikes.
The 4 stars are for the excellent writing and the creepy factor. Characters sucked, in more ways than one.;-)
I do recommend this book for people who love a good horror read. Just don't expect to feel attac...more
Sherie
This is the first time I've read anything by Graham Masterton, and I honestly wish it wasn't.

The first half of the book was amazing. I loved it. The atmosphere was creepy, extremely creepy from start to finish, he captured the haunted house feel perfectly. At one point I had to put the book down, as it made me cringe that badly, and made me feel sick in the stomach. The bad part was, that I ended up with rather high expectations for the rest of the book, and was greatly disappointed. Why? Becau...more
Barbra
This author is one of the most orginal and scary storytellers of our time - he can scare the pants off me!

Back Cover Blurb:
After Craig Bellman is horrifically attacked, he and his wife Effie leave New York for the peace of the country, hoping to rebuild their damaged relationship. However, when Craig insists on buying a derelict mansion on a mountainside - despite Effie's serious reservations - their problems are only just beginning.
The house echoes with a terrible agonised sobbing, and Effie, t...more
Jo
The haunted house is a horror staple and only the true masters can make an old story exciting and interesting. Chilling and gripping, this novel proves that Masterton is one of these old masters.
Helen
Enjoyable classic haunted house story, even if the idea has been done a million times before! (Just ignore the weird sex scenes)
Joe Stamber
A vicious mugging proves difficult for successful lawyer Craig Bellman to recover from until he discovers an abandoned mansion while on holiday with his wife. Valhalla was built by a notorious playboy gambler who disappeared in the 1930s. Bellman is entranced by the old house, but of course there is more to it than meets the eye.

Masterton is an accomplished writer in a number of genres, which in my opinion makes him a better horror writer as his novels are good stories with a horror theme rather...more
Erin (Paperback Stash)
Graham Masterton wined, dined, and romanced me with his gory, viscerally rich ‘The Devil in Grey.’ Here he makes the past cross the lines with the modern again, this time, as before, dealing with devilish spirits up to no good.

The plot is traditional type of ghost story, with possession, unexplained deaths, haunted houses, and mysterious ‘drawings’ to places and people of the characters. Sure, there’s nothing really new here, but it’s fun anyway.

Pacing doesn’t hurt the book, either. Spooks and c...more
L.L.
"Gut ist der Schlaf, der Tod ist besser"

Ponieważ to pierwsza książka Mastertona, którą tutaj dokładniej opisuję, to może kilka słów o nim na początek. Często jest on oceniany jako mierny pisarz przez to jak pisze swoje książki. Czasem dość brutalne sceny opisuje [żeby coś takiego wymyślić to trzeba... no nie wiem aczkolwiek ja bym nie potrafił takich opisów wymyślić ;) ]. Ale ja właśnie lubię takie książki! Kiedy książka jest brutalna i szokująca, to zapada w pamięć i o to chodzi! Mówi się też,...more
Caroline
I started reading this book years ago (must be at least 15), and the only thing I remember about it is the reason why I didn't finish it. There was one point, fairly early on in the book I believe, where a man is in the house of the title (can't remember who, can't remember why) (view spoiler). I might have some of the specifics wron...more
Kathleen
This book was good, but I wouldn't exactly call him a "master of horror." It was kind of scary, but not terrifying. Overall, the story was entertaining, so I gave it 3 stars, but the quality of the writing left something to be desired. There were a lot of unusual metaphors and similes, such as "...her face was devastated by what had happened, like a smashed jelly jar," which were a bit distracting. There were also a couple of small plot holes, which I won't go into detail about so as not to crea...more
Ted
I went on a Graham Masterton Jag and read several of his books. This one was my favorite. Plus, anytime an author uses the word "vulva" in a book, it has to be worth reading, right?! It was a scary story, not "Keep me awake" scary, but I am scarred from too much horror (novels and Netflix), but it was a good read.

BookwormLove
This is one of the first books I ever read...I was about 15 years old when I read it & I was completely blown away...years later, it still one of my all time favourite books! brilliant brilliant brilliant! ive read it about 6 times since & I enjoy it every time. just keeps you hooked on every page!! Love a good horror - Dont find many that are this easy to get into without being too dragged out & twisted. LOVED this one! Need to find a copy of this golden oldy!
Maggie
Jun 15, 2011 Maggie added it
Recommends it for: no one
Shelves: horror
Havent actually finished this book and don't intend to either. Read about 100 pages and decided it wasn't for me. Flicking ahead it doesn't seem to improve. The writing style seemed a bit simplistic, the story line unoriginal (guy moves into a haunted house and the ghost of its previous gangster owner takes over his body in order to live again). Had I finished it I would have rated it 1 star I think.
Chrissy Moon
I loved this book. Oftentimes a horror book will creep me out a little, and then weeks later, I'll forget all about it.

This one was very different. I actually read it months ago but just forgot to add it to my list of books here. It had some very interesting theories about haunting and time that were very intriguing and had an almost sci-fi tone to it, which I love.

Definitely a new favorite book.
Kelly Truelove
Apr 19, 2012 Kelly Truelove rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone who loves some gore with their ghost or haunted house story
This was a thrilling and unique take on the traditional haunted house story. I did find that there were more moments of gore than fright, but overall it's simply typical Masterton. I enjoyed watching the surprises unfold, though if you're looking for a more traditional ghost story or haunting, there's many other authors to choose from, including John Harwood, Peter Straub, and James Herbert.
Katie
This book wasn't good as it was made out to be, I absolutely love Graham Masterton books but this one seemed a bit poor compared to his others. I borrowed this book off my boyfriends father, as he's a big fan as well. I put it down for a couple of weeks, and finally picked it up when I was on holidays. It was okay, but the characters and story line wasn't all that good.
Marco
A fairly original haunted house story. It's not really scary but definitely interesting
and fast paced. Main characters are not terribly likable in my opinion but that fits in nicely with the greater scheme of the story. I did find the ending the be all over the place and hard to follow at times. Overall, a good quick read especially if you like this author.
Sam
A chilling and vivid tale of one man's descent into madness as he is dominated and possessed by the power of a house and the man who built it. Masterton builds the tension and horror of the tale superbly with a climax that does not disappoint. This story remains with me to this day, even ten years after originally reading it.
Lisa-marie
Ive read this book 6 times and i love it!!! its one of them books which is easy to read, and realllly easy to let the mind flow with the story line. i LOVED it. im normally a richard Laymon fan but Graham masterton has wrote an amazing book here. creepy in places, sexual in others but gripping all the way through. Loved it.
Nora Peevy
Anyone looking for a fresh gothic ghost story with a twist and then some, will love this book. Fast paced, well written and psychologically horrifying! I loved it! I could say more, but I don't want to spoil it for anyone. There's even a nice selection of gruesome death scenes. What more could a girl want?
Brandy
This is one of my favorite horror stories. I read around 10yrs ago & I still remember being frightened by it. It is what earned Graham Masterton a permanent spot on my list of favorite authors. As far as I know, I have read everything he has written.
David
Masterton is a pretty terrific horror author. This book really scratched an itch I had for it's kind of haunted house story. It's got many similarities with Matheson's Hell House. But this is a possession novel. Enjoyable but not perfect.
Jinno Redovan
I have read quite a few of Graham Masterton's books. Most of them have been a great read but for some reason, this one did not keep my attention as much as his other works. That does not mean I did not enjoy it. It was an okay read.
Randy Wiggins
This is one of the all time best haunted house novels ever written! Take a house with a past + a couple with marriage problems and what do you get? Terror! But there is oh, so much more to this book!
Bozz
For so long as it read like a stright huanting tale it was decent, but the twist, while very original, was way to far out there for me. It's a good book but the plot is a little misleading.
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Graham Masterton was born in Edinburgh in 1946. His grandfather was Thomas Thorne Baker, the eminent scientist who invented DayGlo and was the first man to transmit news photographs by wireless. After training as a newspaper reporter, Graham went on to edit the new British menis magazine Mayfair, where he encouraged William Burroughs to develop a series of scientific and philosophical articles whi...more
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“Gut ist der Schlaf, der Tod ist besser” 2 likes
“[...] she hadn't realised how much she missed the company of women who laughed, women who spoke their own minds, women who didn't give a shit for anything.” 2 likes
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