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3.68  ·  Rating details ·  507 ratings  ·  71 reviews
In this novel of mounting suspense from award-winning author Herbert Lieberman, a terrifying surprise waits beneath a couples New England home

Albert and Alice Graves live a normal, if monotonous, domestic life. Theyve never had children; they spend their days tending to their home and enjoying their time together. One day, when the oil man, Richard, is refilling their
Paperback, 278 pages
Published July 2nd 1977 by Pocket Books (first published January 1st 1971)
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Average rating 3.68  · 
Rating details
 ·  507 ratings  ·  71 reviews

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Apr 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
Fabulous book - 4.5 stars. Creepy and suspenseful and unique, not at all the kind of book I thought I was getting - much more psychological than the cover would have one think. Couldn't put it down.
Nov 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was the best book Ive ever read in my life. Im not sure what possessed me to pick it up but Im glad I did. Its a culmination of dealing with a person you so long to hate but cant help but love. Its a story of hard places and tough decisions that pull on your heartstrings. Its doing the right thing but wanting to do the wrong thing. The ending made me cry and makes you wonder about loss, love, grief and cats! Lol. You wont regret this one. I promise you! ...more
Rebecca McNutt
May 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, mystery, fiction
I loved this book, it was so different and well-written! At first I thought it was a horror book, but it has more of an underlying mystery element than most books in the genre.
Gina Covarrubias
Dec 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I chose this book based on the title and the cover alone, fully expecting it to be one of the cheesy horror novels I am so fond of. Instead, it was anything but. The writing was quietly beautiful, and so filled with grace. This is more of an existential horror novel than anything. It turns out Herbert Lieberman is a recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship, which explains why this is not the Ketchum-style gorefest I thought I was signing on for. I try to make myself feel better about my terrible ...more
Rachel Bridgeman
Sep 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: september
The Graves take Richard into their lives, becoming attached to his presence as though to the son they never had. Their town, though, is not nearly so welcoming. When the locals lash out against the Graves and their strange houseguest, the contented household is irrevocably drawn into a darkness they could not have imagined.

''There is something about injustice.Once it starts,it spreads like contagion.First,you have one small injustice;then a whole conspiracy of subsequent injustices are required
Alex (Hey Little Thrifter)
Aug 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
All I knew about this novel going into it was that it's about a retired couple living in an isolated house who find that someone has been living in their crawlspace. In actual fact, this is only the tip of the iceberg and the story involves so much more than that.

There are some brilliantly chilling moments in the first section and then the story develops into something else which, albeit less creepy, I still found very compelling. There is still plenty of tension throughout the story and it
Melissa Vicente
Dec 20, 2015 rated it it was ok
I found this book on an article of the scariest books to read. I read it, barely finishing it. When the book first started, I was curious and with that came the desire to know more but it quickly faded when I realized that there wasn't anything more that was going to happen.

The book dragged on, giving mundane details of a family's daily life with a curious visitor who after coming into the picture turned out to be just as boring but with a little bit of crazy.

There wasn't anything that kept me
Oct 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
I was cruising the fiction section of my library back in 1973 and found this looked interesting so I checked it out and I really enjoyed it!

It has been a long time so I don't exactly remember the ending but I do remember that the book was fun to read, and more than a little spooky. Recommended.

PS: I have a strong recollection of Roberta Flack's "Killing Me Softly" being constantly played on the radio when I was reading this and I've always had a strong association between the book
Oct 28, 2017 rated it it was ok
I found this book after a search for mysteries, but I don't feel it fits that bill, and I didn't enjoy it. I liked the writing, but the plot and characters felt too unbelievable. All the back and forth "should we or shouldn't we" was just too much for my taste. This felt more like a human drama, and the writing worked to that effect, but I'd hoped for an atmospheric, spooky mystery with a title like Crawlspace, and I didn't get that with this story.
Oct 09, 2013 rated it liked it
It's a relic of another time. It's a PG-rated (not even PG-13) horror novel that doesn't scare and doesn't disguise its Freudian psychology under much. I give it a good rating because of some great details and that it shows the lynch mob/conformist mentality isn't confined to the South. But still, when friggin' coffee grounds on a wall are some of the most graphic details in a scary book that means give it to your minister.
Nov 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror, fiction, own-it
I simply could not put this book down.. It was not what I was expecting but was much better than expected.. This book builds the tension page by page, you know something is going to happen but what? Well done.
Apr 02, 2020 rated it it was ok
This book was disappointing for me. The cover and insert lead me to believe this was going to be suspenseful and scary. It was far from it. One word, weird. So, if your looking for 70's horror, this is not it.
William Malmborg
Jun 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
Have you ever had a houseguest that overstayed their welcome? It happens from time to time and often grows awkward; especially if youre the type of person who doesnt want to seem mean yet also really wants the person to go. In Crawlspace by Herbert Lieberman a situation like this occurs, though in a way that one wouldnt expect. The houseguest in question is a young man whom originally showed up to deliver oil to Graves house, one who Albert and Alice invited to stay for dinner. They also loaned ...more
Dec 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 22, 2015 rated it it was ok
This is a strange little book more interesting in concept than execution. An strange young man with no past moves into the crawlspace of an elderly couple's rural home uninvited and refuses to leave. They are too nice to make him leave, and the story unfolds as a series of awkward encounters between the couple, who are too polite to say much of anything, and the man in the crawlspace, who rarely says more than one or two words. The story ends with astral projection in a bizarre non-sequitur. In ...more
Dillon Christensen
Didn't know much about it going in, based on the cover teaser it sounded like a pretty creepy story. It started awesome but I have to say the beginning was the most thrilling part for me. The rest just kinda dragged on for me. I did like Herber's style and that's what kept me gripped to pull through the book. So basically if you're expecting an exciting thriller, maybe try a different book after chapter two gets you amped up.
Lisa Greer
Jun 26, 2008 rated it really liked it
This was a good book. I was totally hooked because I had no idea where the author was going with it. It's also pretty "deep" I think. Lots of insights about what it is to be human. I highly recommend it. This book is one of the reasons I keep buying books from the used book place. Every once in a while I hit on a real gem.
Nov 07, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A book that's hard to classify. Part thriller, part study of love and its sometimes terrible, twisted cost. The protagonists are occasionally conveniently dumb or implausibly passive, but it's a queerly gripping read all the same, possessed of a melancholy, elegiac heartbreak.
Apr 27, 2017 rated it it was ok
This book is 95% filler around an already pretty flimsy plot. It draaaaggggssss.

This takes place in the USA but the state isn't given. It's a very dull and boring story that had so much potential. None of it makes any sense and there's no point to it. Richard's an odd character, eighteenish, and for some unknown reason lives in their crawlspace and even poops in there like an animal. He doesn't seem to have much social skills and is just strange. I neither like nor dislike him.

What I don't like at all is how the Graves, who are near sixty years old, take him in and treat
Oct 14, 2019 rated it liked it
Such a strange, concerning story Crawlspace is. The story is told by Albert Graves about he and his wife's experience with a young man named Richard Atlee they take under their wings. The Graves extend a kind gesture to this young man who appears homeless and without family only to learn their kindness has led to irreversible consequences. The reader does not learn why Richard is and acts the way he does until virtually the end. You can't help but love the Graves, but who could ever predict or ...more
Michelle Balbat
Jan 24, 2017 rated it liked it
Not what I expected. I anticipated a atmospherically creepy (horror story) novel but instead found this to be more of a psychological thriller. I spent the whole read waiting for the other shoe to drop. As far as climaxes go, I wasn't necessarily shocked but Lieberman offers a satisfying and plausible resolution. What fascinated me more was the evolution of the interpersonal relationships between a husband, wife, and their surrogate "child". I appreciated the beauty in detailed descriptions, ...more
Apr 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A masterful, moving meditation on family and the forces that can doom it. As entertainment, this is a slow-burn thriller with a long fuse that held me for the duration, enthralled with characters I came to care about. The story concerns a childless, older couple and an enigmatic young man who became like a son to them. Love is blind or willfully ignorant, and so this couple overcame the many oddities of this young fellow, even as he filled the emotional void in their lives. But forces within and ...more
Oct 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book is dank, claustrophobic and deeply unpleasant. It is a beautifully written examination of human nature, belonging and fear with this being done in a skilled and suspenseful way.

Many have commented that the book was very different to what they expected. If you are expecting 'feral stranger hides in old couple's crawlspace and wreaks havoc' you would get that, but the havoc is a slow build and not entirely wreaked by said stranger, who de-ferals pretty fast.

I'd recommend this for the
J.C. Brennan
Nov 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
The Graves are an elderly couple who find a strange young man living in the crawl space under their home. When they take him in, they are ousted by the church and then the community and when the sheriff becomes involved tragedy isnt far ahead.
Crawlspace is not a fast pass story, but it is well written. Moreover, though it was unlike any novel I have ever read, it intrigued meI couldnt seem to put down. It's the type of story that you must finish to find out how the whole odd mess turns out
Mary Claire
Jun 10, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: horror
"What is one supposed to do for one's fellow men? What is one supposed to be?"

This book is not what I would call horror but it's creepy in its way. I would say it's more psychological horror with no violence and gore.

I personally couldn't get over the couple letting the weird guy into their home and letting him take over their lives. What DO we owe other people? How far should we go to help another? To the risk of our own lives?
But it was an interesting read and thought provoking.
Alec Hawkins
May 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely wonderful rural horror featuring an elderly couple who keep making terrible choices but for all the right reasons. Great writing, compelling characters, and a story that clings to your ankles as it drags you deep down into the dank abyss of destiny.
K.C. Wells
Dec 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016
This was very creepy and mysterious, not the usual blood and guts of the horror genre. An elderly couple takes in a drifter, and the whole novel is what happens following their kind gesture. It's definitely more psychological than I expected, and I enjoyed the suspense.
Jackie Lantern
May 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
The ending was anti-climactic and the wife was super annoying throughout. Otherwise it was a very nice, engaging story. I was expecting more of a supernatural bend to it or a twist ending or something though. Still, far and away better than most the modern crap out there now.
Jul 09, 2019 rated it it was ok
I am not really sure how this book managed to get such good reviews.. it wasn't a bad story but not at all creepy or what I would think of being a horror tale. I only finished it because I kept waiting for something else to happen... but nope.. nothing notable really.
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The author of Crawlspace, City of the Dead, The Climate of Hell, and several other acclaimed novels, Herbert Lieberman is a recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship and a winner of Frances coveted Grand Prix de Littérature Policière. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife.

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“facing the black square of the crawl, I had a sudden sensation that I was in a dream and that I’d dreamed the dream many times before. I saw myself entering the square—entering that cold, wet, dark place with the awful smell of sewage and human waste, the dry, hard ground crumbling, sinking beneath my feet, the straw pallet mouldering in the darkness.” 0 likes
“In the early days of December, Alice bought yarn and needles and began a wool sweater for him which she hoped to complete by Christmas.” 0 likes
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