Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Reaping” as Want to Read:
The Reaping
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Reaping

3.61  ·  Rating details ·  372 ratings  ·  76 reviews
When Tom Rigby is commissioned to paint a young woman’s portrait at Woolvercombe House, the offer is too lucrative to refuse. But from the moment of his arrival at the secluded country mansion strange and inexplicable events begin to transpire. Soon he is drawn into an impenetrable maze of horror, and by the time he discovers the role he is intended to play in a diabolical ...more
Mass Market Paperback, Paperbacks From Hell Edition, 224 pages
Published June 2019 by Valancourt Books (first published 1980)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Reaping, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Reaping

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.61  · 
Rating details
 ·  372 ratings  ·  76 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Reaping
Jun 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5/5 STARS!

Bernard Taylor-I LOVE the guy! SWEETHEART, SWEETHEART is still my favorite from him, (and one of my favorite quiet horror tales of all time), but THE REAPING is another fine example of horror at its best!

An artist and father is invited out to a country manor to paint a portrait. Thomas is offered quite a bit of money to leave his family and business to come do this and his every need will be met while he is there. Upon his arrival, though, his surroundings, the family and the servant
Janie C.
May 06, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love the work of Bernard Taylor, and always look forward to diving into his engaging stories. This was not one of my favorites. It begins as an artist accepts a job to paint a portrait while living in the manor Woolvercombe House with his subject and an assortment of other people. Situations go from odd to outright strange, and once the job is complete, the artist is confused and somewhat stunned by circumstances. He returns home, but finds himself further involved in events that become exceed ...more
Bark  |  Ladies Of Horror Fiction
I received this book as part of Valancourt’s “Paperbacks From Hell” subscription plan and I also received it in for review consideration as an audio and I have NO regrets!

I am so thrilled Valancourt Books exists and that they are bringing these dusty old tomes back from the dead! Many of these books were first released in the 70’s and early 80’s and I have such gaps in my horror history because I missed so much. When I was kid I read Koontz and King and McCammon but didn’t branch out much furth
Alex (The Bookubus)
Jun 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror-faves
4.5 stars

The Reaping is about artist turned shop-owner Thomas who is commissioned to paint a portrait. He travels from London to Woolvercombe House where he stays until the portrait has been completed. But he was brought to the house for more than just his painting skills...

This is another fantastic novel by Bernard Taylor. I'm three books into his back catalogue and I've loved each one so far. Once I finished reading The Reaping I gave my husband a quick rundown of the plot and I realised that
Rachel (TheShadesofOrange)
4.5 Stars
This is a very slow burning, almost meandering, piece of (mostly) quiet horror. For the majority of the story, I had no idea where this one was going. I even considered putting the book down at one point, but something told me that I had to keep going and see where the story went.  Well I'm so glad I kept reading, because the ending had a great payoff.

At the beginning, there was a lot of time spent on character details that initially seemed completely unimportant, but it was all very in
Apr 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So I thought I'd read this little book as a break from all the bigger novels im tackling and boy was I glad I picked it. This story just had me going from the beginning. The pacing was great. Never a dull moment. It was an intricate puzzle that was strategically played. Even when I thought it was predictable and thought I knew what would happen, I would find my jaw dropping. No way! I love those moments. I'm in awe that I didn't see the connections or the subtle hints at how characters would pla ...more
Jun 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Bernard Taylor is a tough one to beat. Review to come.
what a book! Yeah Tom goes to Woolvercombe House to paint a portrait but oh he ends up doing so much more! some of this was just crazy then the ending was good. i enjoyed trying to figure out what was going on.
I listened to the audio book which was narrated by Hannibal Hills. I think this is the best one he's read so far (of the ones I've listened to).

i requested this audio book from Valancourt and left this review voluntarily.
Jamie Stewart
The Reaping is a strange little book that requires the reader to reach its last twenty pages before they can consider it part of the horror genre. It is only then looking back that the reader is able to access all the little tells and hints that this story is pointed toward. Perhaps, I am too used to clique, as I felt that this story could have gone down several different avenues in its telling that have been done before based on its premise. The story being about a failed painter being given th ...more
Jun 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I didn’t love this, but I liked it.

The Reaping was originally written in 1980 and definitely hits those 80’s horror vintage notes. No spoilers here. I’ll just say that if you love 80’s horror or those awesome 1970’s movies that starred people like Ernest Borgnine – you know chill with a touch of cheese – you should enjoy this one. It gets surprisingly erotic, but that all makes sense in the end.

The buildup is slow. The author gives the readers so many clues that things are very wrong here. And a
Tyler J Gray
4.25 Really enjoyed it!
Jul 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror, fiction
3 5/5 stars
Dec 03, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thomas Rigsby has been commissioned by Mrs. Weldon, to come to Woolvercombe House to paint a portrait of Catherine, the great niece of Miss Stewart. Weldon offers Thomas more than double his fee to paint the picture. Thomas said no at first, because he made plans with his lady friend, Ilona. At the last minute Ilona has to cancel their plans and now Thomas is available. Thomas could not turn down this huge amount of money, for about only ten days work. The first night that Thomas spent at Woolve ...more
Jul 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another deftly told slow burn from Taylor, The Reaping does not disappoint. This clocks in as a fairly quick read at around 175 pages, and I was swept along from the beginning. Doesn’t quite reach the heights of Sweetheart, Sweetheart, but still a master class and a must read for Bernard Taylor fans.
Dec 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A wee slow to get going and a wee cheesy in parts, but filled with unsettling characters and plenty of creepy goings on. In other words, classic 80’s horror.

Tom Rigby is finally going to make a little dough from his art by painting the portrait of a young woman out at the old Woolvercombe House.

Should be easy money.

Well…should have been anyway.

It seems that there may have been some underlying ulterior motives for Tom’s trip out to Woolvercombe. Ulterior motives of a most sinister kind…

"I was g
Oct 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
Totally in the classic late-70s/early-80s mold (which all makes sense). A well-meaning man who falls into an occult trap; a slow build towards a heart-pounding conclusion; the clues having been there all along. None of this can, or should, pass any 21st Century tests -- but I had a blast with it for the odd nostalgia thrill, which is exactly what the Paperbacks from Hell folks were hoping for, I think.
Mark Young
Mar 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I did not see that ending coming! I love the way all of the little clues led to an unforgettable conclusion! 4 solid stars! I can’t wait to read more from this author.
Sandy Lewis
Jan 30, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A spooky and creepy story with old school horror movie vibes. Loved it
A. Shaskan
A readable but ultimately stupid book. Like many horror novels, the build-up is more scary than the reveal. The book is genuinely eerie in its middle section, but it becomes progressively more ridiculous as it goes on. The ending is predicated on a sheer coincidence ((view spoiler)) and reads like something straight out of a B movie.

In addition, the suspense is let out of the balloon the instant the
Jan 22, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Like a really good Hammer Horror film or a brilliant episode of Tales of the Unexpected this 1980 horror is a fab read. Seemingly innocuous at first, the writer lets us get to know the characters well and lets the tension build until the very last page. It's not gory or particularly horrific - more a psychological thriller with horror elements but for readers like me who like quite 'tame' horror, verging on the cheesy (the massage scene, lol), it's a completely enjoyable read.
Jul 23, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror-books
I think I said this for the other Paperbacks From Hell book I read, but writing a review for this book is going to be hard. There's usually a reason for them going out of print and then being featured in PfH. Maybe it's the publisher going out of business or the book just being buried in the horror paperback bubble bursting. Or it could be they just aren't that good. I'd say that's the case with this one.

In the introduction we are told how Bernard Taylor is a great writer because he can create
Apr 28, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This Paperbacks from Hell reprint collection is pretty good, not only because the books themselves are a good selection but because there is plenty of variety within the horror genre. The Reaping is a more literary and very British addition to the collection. It's no surprise that the main character finds himself in a room watching Don't Look Now at one point of the novel. 

A slow burn as the horror takes a while to take shape, it's also a relatively short novel, so you don't have much to wait an
Taylor has such an easy, deliberate style to his writing. It's hard not to get caught up in the story, because he draws you in so smoothly and easily. He's been described as a writer of quiet horror, and The Reaping is a good example of why (though Sweetheart, Sweetheart is probably the place to start).

The story is about Tom Rigby, a part-time painter who is commissioned to paint a portrait of a young woman. Once he arrives at Woolvercombe House, he discovers an odd staff and even odder resident
Michael Ritchie
(3-1/2 stars) This reprint of a 70s-80s era paperback horror novel is about par for the course. What it has going for it is a good, mysterious atmosphere and a twisty plot. What it doesn't have, which many Goodreads reviewers have pointed out, is much in the way of actual horror or gore or intensity. But that's not unusual for that era. Instead it's more Gothic-inspired. When things get explained at the end, it's a little far-fetched and vaguely disappointing, but overall, this tale of an artist ...more
David Veith
Jul 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very good read. Very well written, this is what English is supposed to be! Looking back at it, story was sort of lack luster, but keeps you interested by the way it is written. Seems like this could have been a great start to a story. I think it is a series though.
Daniel Stainback
This story might not be for everyone, however I loved it. I enjoy a slow mystery and an entertaining, non-whiny lead, along with some supernatural sprinkled into the mix.
Angus McKeogh
Not too bad. The denouement of the plot ultimately tried to force a bunch of gravitas that it couldn’t really pull off and ended up being kind of corny.
May 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
I don't know what I was expecting, but it wasn't that.

Taylor is a master of the Jamesian style of quiet, slow and atmospheric horror that layers on the weirdness until the reader and the protagonist find themselves in a complete nightmare. This was probably the one of the five Paperbacks From Hell re-issues I was most excited for, as I have enjoyed two of his other novels. Why this wasn't made into a film (like Sweetheart, Sweetheart) I have no idea.
Jun 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
A clever but uneven novel which leads the reader to assume they’re plunging in to a retro-modern Gothic tale about an artist commissioned to paint a portrait of a frail young heiress in a mysterious mansion. But once all of the squares are covered on the Gothic bingo card, the author begins flinging twists at the reader with gleeful abandon. Although it serves the story well not to waste momentum on any occult theories or ponderous monologues, the change in tone, pace and the ending are rather a ...more
« previous 1 3 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • When Darkness Loves Us
  • The Nest
  • The Spirit
  • The Tribe
  • Black Ambrosia
  • Let's Go Play at the Adams'
  • Nightblood
  • A Nest of Nightmares
  • The Pack
  • The Auctioneer
  • Elizabeth
  • Stage Fright
  • The Happy Man: A Tale of Horror
  • Hell Hound
  • Paperbacks from Hell: The Twisted History of '70s and '80s Horror Fiction
  • Familiar Spirit
  • Burnt Offerings
  • The Amulet
See similar books…
Bernard Taylor was born in Swindon, Wiltshire, and now lives in London. Following active service in Egypt in the Royal Air Force, he studied Fine Arts in Swindon, then at Chelsea School of Art and Birmingham University. On graduation he worked as a teacher, painter and book illustrator before going as a teacher to the United States. While there, he took up acting and writing and continued with bot ...more

Related Articles

  Whether you love the horror genre or just tiptoe into it ahead of Halloween, we have book picks for every level of scared you want to...
447 likes · 281 comments
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »