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The House That Jack Built

3.84  ·  Rating Details ·  1,365 Ratings  ·  60 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
Paperback, 400 pages
Published June 1st 2000 by Leisure Books (first published 1995)
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The Pariah by Graham MastertonThe House That Jack Built by Graham MastertonMirror by Graham MastertonA Terrible Beauty by Graham MastertonWalkers by Graham Masterton
Graham Masterton's Best
2nd out of 76 books — 27 voters
American Psycho by Bret Easton EllisHaunted by Chuck PalahniukOff Season by Jack KetchumThe Girl Next Door by Jack KetchumExquisite Corpse by Poppy Z. Brite
The Goriest Books Ever
58th out of 267 books — 525 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Janie Johnson
Oct 16, 2015 Janie Johnson rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015-challenge
Another great book by one of my favorite Paranormal-horror Authors, Graham Masterton. I decided I wanted to read this for spook season because I love to read some creepy books this time of year. I knew that I would not be disappointed by this one at all.

In this book you have Craig Bellerman who stumbled across an old 1930's house named Vallhalla and he was determined to make it his, claiming the house was him. His wife Effie was discovering some pretty odd things going on in this house and she d
...more
Nancy Oakes
Feb 12, 2008 Nancy Oakes rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror, ghostly-tales
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
Gracie
Nov 05, 2015 Gracie rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: no one
Shelves: read-do-not-have
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Bill
Jun 17, 2016 Bill rated it it was ok
Shelves: horror
This is the 3rd Graham Masterton novel I've read and I've yet to 5-star the guy.
Hopefully this is because I haven't read the best of him yet. Although a 2-star rating looks bleak, it does translate to It Was OK, and that's how I felt about it.
The story had a great start to it, with a couple of gleefully horrific occurrences, and I thought I was in for a real treat here.

It was an okay story, and a cool concept. My problem was character engagement. I really couldn't care less for any of them. Very
...more
Kristen
May 02, 2008 Kristen rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror
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
Jane Doe
Jul 23, 2013 Jane Doe rated it really liked it
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
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
Erin ☕ *Proud Book Hoarder*
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
Barbra
Dec 25, 2009 Barbra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Ken
Sep 16, 2012 Ken rated it liked it
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
BookwormLove
Jul 24, 2014 BookwormLove rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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!
Chrissy Moon
Mar 06, 2013 Chrissy Moon rated it it was amazing
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.
Joe Stamber
Apr 21, 2013 Joe Stamber rated it really liked it
Shelves: paper, mobi, read-2013
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
Sherie
Oct 15, 2010 Sherie rated it liked it
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
Rebecca McNutt
May 02, 2015 Rebecca McNutt rated it liked it
Creepy, classic ghost story with vibrant imagery and original characters; if you're a fan of haunted houses and eerie mysteries, or if you love the nostalgia of paperback horror novels like Stephen King's or Dean Koontz's, I highly recommend it.
Meagan Houle
Oct 30, 2015 Meagan Houle rated it liked it
This is not your run-of-the-mill haunted house tale, I promise.
When Effie and Craig visit a derelict mansion called Valhalla, Craig is immediately and irresistibly drawn to it. Effie has misgivings--the house is falling apart, quite literally, and it would cost millions to restore--but since Craig's emotional and mental health has been so precarious, Effie grudgingly agrees. Once they begin the restoration, though, changes are evident in Craig's physical and personal traits. His former quiet, d
...more
Justin
Jul 29, 2015 Justin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
The House That Jack Built tells the story of Craig and Effie Bellman who after Craig's mugging stumble upon the infamous house, Valhalla. Craig becomes drawn to the house in an unnatural way, and Effie becomes concerned about where this house begins to lead them. Meanwhile, typical creepy haunted house activity gives way into a visceral narrative of sex, sadism, misogyny, and supernatural intrigue.
From the opening chapter, Masterton had my attention. Craig was still an unlikable character, but
...more
Pat
Mar 26, 2015 Pat rated it really liked it
Good read...ever since *The girl with the dragon tattoo*, I have enjoyed thrillers by Swedish, Danish, Finnish authors...especially mysteries with the main character a detective with drama. This one did not disappoint...good plot, great characters....will look forward to more books by this author.
Kinksrock
Jan 19, 2016 Kinksrock rated it it was ok
Masterton has written a *lot* of books, of which I've read a few. Of those, I'd have to place this one somewhere in the middle.

It starts out great, builds on some interesting ideas about the flexibility of time, if you use the right kind of architecture, and keeps your attention and continues to be creepy for about 3/4 of the way. Then it seems like Masterton gets lazy and relies on some horror cliches that will make anyone who has seen a few horror films groan. One of the characters even thinks
...more
Denise
Jul 19, 2016 Denise rated it it was ok
I really wanted to love this book. Unfortunately, I was underwhelmed and only finished it because I wanted to see if Masterton could redeem the story somehow.

"The House that Jack Built" starts out promising enough - creepy NY estate, mysterious happenings and a building sense of impending doom for the couple unlucky enough to stumble upon Valhalla. After a few scares, though - including a particularly gruesome death scene - the story fell flat for me.

Effie, the main characters wife, seemed at tu
...more
Jewell Moreno
Apr 21, 2016 Jewell Moreno rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Alice Black
May 16, 2016 Alice Black rated it really liked it
This is the first Graham Masterton novel I've read and I wasn't disappointed. Craig Bellman and his wife Effie and living the high life in New York until a brutal incident changes the very person Craig is. Effie convinces him they need to take a vacation so they head back to her home town where Valhalla, a house built by Jack Belias was built. Craig immediately becomes transfixed and decides he wants to buy this old beaten down house and restore it to its former glory. Effie doesn't like it as m ...more
Matt Daly
Jul 16, 2015 Matt Daly rated it it was ok
So, this is the first novel by Masterton that I've read. First off, his prose is superb, he can really draw you in and keep the pages turning without writing a screenplay (see James Patterson). Also, his descriptive writing is excellent which really captures the mood for this genre. And finally, the pacing was done quite well; it really is a slow boil that escalates nicely towards the end.
Now, you'd think with that segway this would yield a five star review. Eh, actually far from it. The chara
...more
Ted
Jun 02, 2014 Ted rated it it was amazing
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.

Lisa-marie
Aug 17, 2012 Lisa-marie rated it it was amazing
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.
Jo
Oct 11, 2011 Jo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, horror
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
Aug 13, 2011 Helen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyable classic haunted house story, even if the idea has been done a million times before! (Just ignore the weird sex scenes)
Elusive
Dec 18, 2015 Elusive rated it really liked it
Shelves: review
‘The House That Jack Built’ is about a successful lawyer, Craig whose life is forever altered after a horrific attack which leaves him feeling impotent. However, when he and his wife Effie discover a mysterious mansion called Valhalla, Craig begins to change.

From the very first page, this book was extremely engaging. I hadn’t expected the horror bit to materialize so soon. As for the mansion, it was easily a character of its own – imposing, morbid, mystifying, intimidating. The author did an am
...more
L.L.
Sep 01, 2007 L.L. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: graham-masterton
"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
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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 men's 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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