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Family Portrait

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  794 ratings  ·  70 reviews
The first body was found in Europe. She had once been a beautiful young girl, but with exquisite skill someone had carefully teased the skin entirely away from her body, leaving nothing but a flayed and bloody carcass. A full examination of her ruined body reveals an horrific truth: She had been skinned alive. The second blood-raw corpse turned up in New England. Followed ...more
Paperback, Reprint, 432 pages
Published November 28th 1985 by Arrow Books Ltd (first published 1985)
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Average rating 3.90  · 
Rating details
 ·  794 ratings  ·  70 reviews

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Jul 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror
Wow, what a brilliant Masterton novel from the 80s. You have all the ingredients you need: reference to Oscar Wilde (did he really wanted to name his novel The Picture of the Dorien Grays, what a great idea), a mysterious family (the Grays), an uncanny portrait painter named Waldegrave, lethal sex (Cordelia Gray), an arts dealer named Vince and confusing family ties between the Pearson and Gray family. Can Vincent find out the secret behind Waldegrave's Family Portrait. Why seems the painting to ...more
Dec 06, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror
Another satisfying read from one of Graham Masterton's many offerings. This book about an immortal family of cold, brutal high society misfits who must resort to skinning victims alive to keep living forever contains some chilling anxiety-provoking scenes. Masterton has that special touch where he doesn't hammer you over the head with his horror, but like most British horror writers, can chill you to the bone with a subtle line or scene here and there. This book is full of such passages. This bo ...more
Alisi ☆ wants to read too many books ☆
I have waited all this time but I've finally decided that I can't finish this. It was just too much for me. The graphic details of skinning people alive was too much.

I don't like watching torture horror (Hostel was the last torture horror movie I've watched -- it's been years, I know) and I thought reading would put that gap between myself and the general horror of it. Nope. I don't know why I know that. >.<

This is like Portrait of Dorian Gray, except this a whole family and in order to stay y
'Family Portrait' is my second foray into Masterton's novels. After reading 'Forest Ghost' I was hooked, Masterton had such an way with written word that I could not resist risking reading another of his novels. There were several I could have picked but I settled for Family Portrait and I admit I wondered if it was the right choice since the blurb revealed that this would be a heavy novel full of pain, suffering and evil.

At first 'Family Portrait' seems to be a classic novel about murder, alth
Cassandra  Glissadevil
Apr 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror
4.7 stars!

Maurice Gray leaned forward, as if he were going to peep through the hole. Instead, he pushed his knife straight into Alison's back, with an audible crunch. The knife cut between her fourth and fifth lumbar vertebrae, severing the posterior columns of the spinal cord, which control direct touch and conscious muscle sensations. Allison said , "Ah," in a choking voice and collapsed to the dusty wooden floor.

He worked with the flowing capability of long experience. He cut a line from t
Oct 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, horror
I thought this was excellent. The characters were well drawn, there was a real sense of menace about it and the plot was paced well. Not so fast you never had time to really think about the scary bits, but not so slow it dragged. I thought the epilgue was stating the obvious, but it didn't spoil the story, so it still gets 5 stars. ...more
Oct 16, 2019 rated it liked it
Dorian Gray meet Ed Gein- and you get THE GRAY FAMILY. Is it an original story? Some of it. Is it gorier than The Picture of Dorian Gray? YES. Is it better than The Picture of Dorian Gray? No, but definitely worth the read if you are a Masterton fan!
Michael Davies
Feb 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
A creepy, but wealthy old money family named Gray, a series of grisly murders with the victims skinned alive, a decaying portrait and a long ago connection between the artist and Oscar Wilde - well you can guess where this is going and if you like your horror raw with a soupcon of the supernatural then you'll love this. ...more
Alice Rachel
May 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Horror novels aren't the best written, so the 5 stars here are NOT for the writing style, but only for how good the plot was and how scary the book was. Loved that it was a twist on Dorian Gray. I hated myself for liking Henri in this book. Out of all the psychos, he's the only one I liked. ...more
Jul 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
re-read July 6-7th, 2014.

One of the best Masterton books, in my opinion. Expands on the idea of The Portrait of Dorian Gray, in true Masterton style!
Oct 23, 2020 rated it liked it
Good for it's time.. I'd say 3.5 stars.. engaging enough, and gruesome enough to carry me through to the end. ...more
Mark Young
Jul 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
A thoroughly enjoyable read.
Lindsey Goddard
Mar 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wow. The Picture of Dorian Gray is one of my all-time favorite books. I read it nearly twenty years ago when I was fifteen, and it affected me in a way I hadn't expected. The flippant, hedonistic attitudes of the characters would have ordinarily repulsed me, but Wilde's prose had been so enchanting, I found myself caring for these characters and getting wrapped up in their vain pursuits. When I discovered one of my favorite horror authors had written a novel based on one of my favorite books, I ...more
Feb 05, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: horror
This is a great recreation of Oscar Wilde's novel The Picture of Dorian Gray.

The first body was found in Europe. She had once been a beautiful young girl, but with exquisite skill someone had carefully teased the skin entirely away from her body, leaving nothing but a flayed and bloody carcass. A full examination of her ruined body reveals an horrific truth: She had been skinned alive. The second blood-raw corpse turned up in New England. Followed soon after by another, this time a victim o
Richard Davis
Jan 11, 2013 rated it did not like it
A 'homage' to 'The Picture of Dorian Gray', but despite that not one character in the novel even notices. The horror elements start off well, with the fate of a young hitchhicker in France, but from there, I rapidly lost interest. And once the stuff about travelling to different paintings started it was all I could do to finish it. Rambling to say the least. ...more
Nov 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a retelling of one of my all time favorite stories (Dorian Gray) by one of my favorite all time writers.I have a different edition.
Moonie Moo
Dec 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror
Holy moly, what an amazing horror story, i have spent many late nights reading this book not wanting to put it down, enjoyed this book very much and highly recommend it for an horror fan :)
Joe Stamber
Jan 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Graham Masterton's take on The Picture of Dorian Gray is an old school (it was published in 1985) horror tale with a touch of the occult. The family of the title is the spooky Gray family, who, as the title suggests, have their own portrait to help with their dastardly scheme. Events have moved to the modern day (well, 1980s) and Masterton cleverly reworks Wilde's novel into a more contemporary setting. It hardly needs saying that Family Portrait isn't for the faint hearted as he's never been on ...more
Apr 11, 2021 rated it it was amazing
4,5* rounded 5, just for the end.
After having read not so far ago "the pariah" from the same autor, which I enjoyed a lot, I've found here pretty much the same, a rich book in atmosphere, character development, plot and, icing the cake, the denouement, which was on the level of the main story and in turn, so imaginative and well crafted that I'd dare say it's one of the best, if not the best end in a book of this genre I have stumbled into so far.
I expect my next experience with this author is c
Ann Waireri
Dec 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Fantastic thiller
Steve Paull
Feb 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Taking the Dorian Grey legend, and running with it. Brilliant read.
Cats Are Best
Aug 09, 2020 rated it did not like it
This guy writes a ton of stuff but a lot of it I can't warm to. His very first published book may still be his best. I didn't like this at all. ...more
Hayley Holmes
Apr 10, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Great story,read it in 2 days as I couldn't put it down.Gripping,gory,horrific 😀 ...more
Jan 05, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, audiobooks
Family Portrait by Graham Masterton is the first Masterton book I decided to read. I was recommended this book by a great friend, and decided I should give it a try. I had also heard some people compare Masterton as the British Stephen King. I can see some similarities, but there is definitely a difference in their style. I thought that Family Portrait sounded fascinating being that it was a twist on Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray. It most certainly was a unique twist, and an engaging ...more
Fred Klein
Jan 19, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I would place this novel among the four best of Graham Masterton's work that I've read so far (along with The Hell Candidate, House of Bones, and Spirit).

For those new to Masterton, but familiar with Oscar Wilde's "The Picture of Dorian Gray", you may appreciate Masterton's take on the story. In this version, instead of just one man maintaining his youth while his image grows old in a portrait, it's an entire family, and, rather than the vagueness of the original story as to the decadent activit
Apr 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
I'm currently reading all books that have been republished by Hammer and I'm loving it as i've found several new(old) authors.

I read this a couple of weeks ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. I'm a big fan of Oscar Wilde's Dorian Gray and this is a great take on the premise of encasing your soul in a picture, of never growing old. When photography first became available it was widely believed a part of your soul was captured!! Though in the case of The Family Portrait, it was an evil incantation that
Aug 05, 2012 rated it liked it
I'm not really good at writing book reviews, so forgive me.
But this was an extremely different book than I thought when I first picked it up.
Yes, I did notice that it was labelled horror, but I've read some classified "horrors"
that didn't seem to be too bad. This one took the cake! It's basically about a family's
desperate attempt at staying forever young, and it's not just the 'typical' way of going about
trying to achieve eternal youth. I won't give too much away - just beware - if
maggots and d
Feb 13, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
As always Graham Masterton delivers for me. I always find his books fast-paced, creepy, sometimes really scary but I have never read a bad one yet.

Back Cover Blurb:
From the chateau country of France to the upper-class enclaves of Connecticut come Cordelia and her brother Maurice. Rich, elegant and sophisticated, their sensual beauty is irresistable.
The hunger is hideous. The price is blood-drenched horror. The only hope: destroy the painted canvas from which the Grays gain their unnatural streng
Sep 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I have always loved this book!!! I read it years and years ago and lent it out to a friend who loaned it as well meaning I never got it back. I had looked for it for years so I could have a copy back and lucky me, I found it last year. I cannot recommend it enough, it is a great ride....just loved it!
Wayne Noble
Sep 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The first of Masterton's books I ever read back in the late 80's and I have been hooked Ohio books ever since. This book thrills, disgusts and chills with an engaging and entertaining style, a good book for horror fans. ...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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