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The Secret of Crickley Hall

3.9  ·  Rating details ·  5,606 Ratings  ·  467 Reviews
Would you stay in a haunted house for more than one night?
Would you live in a place where ghostly things keep happening? Where a cellar door you know you locked the night before is always open the following morning?  Where hushed whimpering is heard?  Where white shadows steal through the darkness?  Where the presence of evil is all around you?
Would you?  Should you?
Hardcover, 640 pages
Published July 19th 2011 by Tor Books (first published 2006)
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Oct 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
It’s almost Halloween as I write so I’m in the mood for some creepy read. If you are ever in the mood for horror fiction and you have never read anything by James Herbert you have been outrageously remiss. In the 70s and 80s James Herbert was King, practically Stephen King as teens and horror fans were reading his books all over the place (in the UK where I was residing any way I have no idea about Herbertism in other countries). His most widely known book The Rats was published in 1974 it was a ...more


*deep breaths*

One of the things that ticks me off – IS FALSE ADVERTISING!
I have been conned and I’m furious! Well to be precised, Ben and I have been conned and going by his status updates – as you witnessed, F bombs were practically on every progress updates, he wasn’t too impresses either.

Let’s analyze.

The synopsis said:
The Secret of Crickley Hall is a new take on the classic ghost story in the same way that his bestseller Once was a new take on the classic fairy tale. The Secret
Jan 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: james-herbert
I have read most if nota all of James Herbert's books and I think he has written some excellent novels (Fluke, Portent, '48) and some that I wasn't so keen on (notably The Spear)

However with The Secret Of Crickley Hall I think he has done a fantastic job. I would say this just edges Portent from my top 3 Herbert books

The characterisations are wonderful the plot is superb and the build up is one of his best.

I really used to enjoy reading Denis Wheatley books when I was younger, one thing I loved
Jun 27, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This goes on the 'could-not-finish' shelf. What a stinker. I was thoroughly impatient with the character descriptions and unnecessary explanations through dialogue, e.g., the mother explaining to the kindly old gardener why their youngest daughter is nicknamed "Callie"---I can almost picture the gardener nodding with polite disinterest. As an American, I was really irritated with the author feeling it necessary to include, during the mother's interior monologue, the information that her American ...more
Apr 16, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mind the spoilers!

Hmmm. I think my overall impression of this book is that it was an interesting and compelling read, but just too long and repetitive, and at some points completely nonsensical.

I love a good ghost story and this one started off very well, with the Caleigh family heading to the very creepy Crickley Hall in Devon to get away from painful memories of their missing son on the first anniversary of his disappearance. It's the classic horror set up: main characters move to an unfamilia
Chris Jay
Jul 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Well, what can I say, I bought this book on the 20th, and have just finished it today, 3 days later, despite the books 633 pages.

Where do I start? Just please, if you enjoy an amazing plot, twists that left me literally gasping, (And I'm not one to over react) biting my nails, and on the verge of tears at points, then pick up The Secret of Crickely Hall.

Other reviews deterred me from reading this, and I picked it up with half heartedness, and the intention of dropping it after the first 80 pages
Jun 30, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, 2016-reads
if Stephen King and Jodi Picoult had a baby with very little writing talent it'd be this dude
Oct 08, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
What's wrong with Crickley Hall? The cellar door won't stay shut. There are strange noises coming from the closet. The dog hates the place. Be very afraid, run away now - from this novel.

Oy, what a stinker. It has the bones of a good story - plotty enough that I had to severely edit the synopsis to be accepted by my book database - but the story is badly told and very badly edited. There is no real character development, although there are character back stories that take up valuable pages and a
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Benjamin Stahl
Mar 14, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Dumbshits
Shelves: ghosts, buddy-reads

This book seriously has me stuck. I’m totally split about whether to rate it two or three stars. I could just get a life and not care about it either way, but this is me we’re talking about. So here goes an in-depth discussion with myself which I really haven't the time to indulge in.
Shit. I hated this book. Aside from the suicide letter I wrote my parents some months ago, it was probably the most disappointing thing I've read in a long time. (The former being disappointing because obviously I
May 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
James Herbert, who passed away last year, has long been one of the most popular and influential horror writers since he first published The Rats in the late 70's. To many in the UK, he's their Stephen King, but Herbert is all his own, and for the uninitiated, you should read him, period.

The Secret of Crickley Hall is a classic haunted house tale, ranks right up there with the modern classics, such as The Haunting of Hill House, Hell House, The Shining, and Ghost Story. While the book is big and
I'll admit to skimming through parts of this book. Mostly, the parts that repeated, and repeated...and repeated. My Lord, the ENDLESS repetition. First one person tells the story, then another, then we get a flashback memory of the story, then a summary and then yet another person tells the same story again. Sigh.
No mystery here, no scares or creepy scenes (though plenty were meant to be)- the most disturbing parts (aside from the poorly executed and, yes, repetitious, "Americanisms") were the d
Sep 01, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
James Herbert is held with a great deal of respect in the UK: there’s quite a few horror readers out there who were weaned on the author’s The Rats(1974) and The Fog (1975) from the 1970’s.

Since then (and twenty odd books later) Herbert’s current reputation is, well... odd. There’s been a few books that readers haven’t been too favourable of, and it seems that Herbert’s reputation as ‘Britain’s answer to Stephen King’ has not turned out the way many predicted it would. He sells very well, and ye
Alexander Gordon
Sep 28, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I think the best-kept secret of Crickley Hall is the fact that absolutely nothing exciting happens there… Which is a shame, because I am a huge James Herbert fan, and have just finished reading Others (review to come), which was absolutely brilliant. But this book felt like a shade of his other ghost stories, something that looks at first glance like it should be perfectly terrifying, but which soon grows stale and familiar and dull. It’s like that moment when you wake up at night and see the sp ...more
Jeremy Trevathan
Dec 28, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ghost-stories
This is one of James Herbert's best novels of recent years. It's a traditional spooky house ghost story that takes place over the course of a week in Devon as a family move to a rented house to recuperate from a tragedy that overwhelmed them. The first sign that something is wrong is when the dog keeps running away. It's truly scary at points and doesn't have some of the gore and violence which marked Herbert's earlier horror fiction, which probably would make it appeal to a broader readership.
Rebecca McNutt
Horror seems to be James Herbert's talent, from his creepy little novel The Rats to this one, which, instead of featuring an apocalypse-like scenario with animals, instead focuses on a more eerie and sinister plot. In The Secret of Crickley Hall, the ghosts of wrongfully-treated children are the center of the plot.
Jul 31, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I found this on the shelves of our rented holiday flat. It was every bit as good as you'd expect a paperback left on the shelf of your holiday flat to be.
I try to cull my TBR list regularly. Okay, fine, regularly-ish. I'm never as ruthless with my own lists as I am with, say, books in the library that need to be weeded. If it smells like a troll died in it or the spine is lettered in white-out pen, it needs to go. Pronto. But my booklist? What if I take something off and then I forget about it and it turns out it would have been one of my favorite books ever had I read it? I'm not going to use that idiotic acronym, but yes: it's a form of the fea ...more
Rebecca tedder
Aug 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
633 pages in less than 2 days is a new record for me. Whilst I couldn't wait for the next chapter every time, I did begin to feel sad that it was nearly finished around page 530.

Herbert is currently my favourite author as his pace is sharp and intriging from the beginning right to the last few pages.

I did suss out some of the twists and turns and I LOVED the backdrop for this book. Having spent a week in Somerset and crossing over the border into North Devon last week, this is evidently based o
I would have given this five stars had it not been sooo very long, and repetitive in some parts.
But, other than that, a good modern horror story with some neat little twists and surprises, with a few sprinkles of more visceral horror. And a slightly weepy ending. I've read pretty much everything else Herbert had written, and somehow this one passed me by, so I'm glad I got around to it.
Simon  Grant
Apr 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
brilliant read, the best James Herbert book I've read so far, for any Stephen king fans like myself this reads like a king novel. Its a fairly hefty book but so well paced you just breeze through it, not any slow boring parts in here at all, it keeps you gripped from first page to the last.
Jun 22, 2011 marked it as abandoned  ·  review of another edition
I abandoned this book after 80 pages. There was a lot I liked about it, but some of the characters' actions seemed really contrived. I'm going to wtite some details about what I didn't like. I don't think they constitute plot spoilers, since I only got to page 80 of a 600 page book, but anyone who hasn't read the book might want to stop reading now.

The first problem was with Crickley Hall. Why did Gabe rent it? He didn't seem to like it much and it was much bigger than they needed. It just didn'
Ian Mapp
Mar 02, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 17, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book started out good. A grieving family (Gabe and Eve, with daughters Loren and Cally) moves into Crickley Hall, both to be closer to Gabe (the father)'s work, and to give themselves some space during the anniversary of the loss of their son, Cam, who disappeared a year prior. But Crickley Hall has other plans. There are bumps in the night, and strange visions. Something evil is present here.
Then the author totally threw in the towel. The last half of the book was so much exposition, so mu
Philip Jackson
This novel ticks all the traditional ghost story boxes - a creepy old house in the middle of nowhere, cut off from the mainland by a river, doors that won't stay closed, inexplicable pools of water in the the hall, mysterious bangs in the middle of the night, and a decades old mystery which is the cause of the hauntings.
It should work, but I'm afraid I found this book dreadfully verbose. Herbert isn't content to tell you something once. The same information is provided over and over again which
Jul 16, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Secret Of Crickley Hall is a good, old-fashioned ghost story. To be honest, it reads like a checklist of every ghost story/haunted house cliché in the history of horror fiction... but damnit if I didn't enjoy the HELL out of it!

You could tear this book to shreds with a long list of all the reasons it's not really very good... and I wouldn't be able to argue with you. It's genuinely creepy and deeply disturbing, despite that, and the part of me that longs to be sitting around a campfire at ni
Kurt Reichenbaugh
Feb 15, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
It's been a long since I've read anything by James Herbert; it was either The Fog or The Spear back in the early '80's for me. I remember those two books for how they didn't pull any punches in the violence and gore, in addition to being really well written. Same goes for this one, except the gore factor has been toned down a bit compared to early Herbert. It's a good ghost story about a young family recovering from a recent tragedy, who temporarily move into a mansion that once served as a scho ...more
Oct 08, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars

Finally finished!! Some of this book was painfully slow, skim reading rather than paying attention to it but it was so boring in parts, it eventually started to pick up to more creepy goings on but that was at the halfway point and I very nearly put it down and DNF'd it.

The treatment of the children is horrible and, sometimes, horrific, nice little twist or two and ended how I hoped it would, apart from one or two things.

My star rating is due to all the slow and boring parts where my ey
Apr 04, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spookies, 2015-reads
Rating Clarification: 2.5 Stars

Clocking in at 600+ pages, this story would have been a lot better with 250 extraneous pages cut out entirely.

Some disturbing imagery, but not as scary as I had wanted it to be. I like Magic Cottage better.
Jun 15, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, horror
The classic style ghost story is both my favorite sub-genre of horror and the most frustrating to me. It is formulaic, following a set pattern (move in, weird crap, disbelief, acceptance... possibly moving). This formula is part of the delight of the tale, but also where the frustration comes from. There's a familiarity, a repetition that all great ghost stories follow, because it lingers with us and makes us feel as if maybe, just maybe, there is a grain of truth to it (after all, want someone ...more
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What's The Name o...: english ghost story/movie [s] 7 50 Feb 02, 2015 12:07PM  
Boring book. 24 139 Oct 08, 2014 03:50AM  
Lush Library: The Secret of Crickley Hall 2 10 Nov 25, 2012 12:26PM  
Goodreads Librari...: The Secret of Crickley Hall: 978 0 7653 2888 5 2 22 Jul 03, 2012 11:12AM  
  • Naomi's Room
  • House of Echoes
  • Candlenight
  • The Waiting Room
  • The Faceless
  • The Mammoth Book of Haunted House Stories
  • Among the Missing
  • Prophecy
  • The Hunting Ground
  • Audrey's Door
  • The House That Jack Built
  • The Unseen
  • Midnight's Lair
  • The Guardians
  • Banquet For the Damned
  • The Ghost Hunters
  • Erebus
James Herbert was Britain's number one bestselling writer (a position he held ever since publication of his first novel) and one of the world's top writers of thriller/horror fiction.

He was one of our greatest popular novelists, whose books are sold in thirty-three other languages, including Russian and Chinese. Widely imitated and hugely influential, his 19 novels have sold more than 42 million
More about James Herbert...