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I’m not a huge Herbert fan, but the promise of a ghost story is one I find to resist, and this is an effective chiller that does not disappoint. A traumatised family rent the foreboding Crickley Hall to temporarily escape the pressure of the loss of their son. But the Hall has terrifying secrets and before long they are being tormented by ghostly presences. The hostile villagers slowly start to reveal some of what happened at the Hall during the Second World War, but the truth is worse than anyone could possibly imagine – and history is about to repeat itself…. This is, in truth, a formulaic ghost story with stock characters, and won’t surprise you. But it is difficult to put down and the horror of some of the scenes is gruesomely addictive, so it does its job splendidly. If you’ve just seen the TV adaptation be warned – this is far more violent and graphic, much more of a horror than a spinetingler – but if the TV version left you wanting something a bit meatier, then the book will definitely deliver. Rating: **

Pan Macmillan, 2012, ISBN 9781447231035

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