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Chris High reviews 'The Haunted' on


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Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton
ISBN: 0-330-37628-4

Front cover of the book by James Herbert - Haunted.


Once in a while a novel comes along that makes the aspiring author weep tears of joy. Haunted is just such a novel, as it should give that self-same aspiring author hope of eventually getting published. The whole thing gives one a lift akin to Pink Floyd's The Wall when feeling down; nothing can ever be as bad as Pink thinks it is and nothing can possibly be as badly written as Haunted.


Set around the efforts of a monotonously dull if sceptical psychic investigator sent to a stereotypical Big House to see whether it is, ahem, Haunted, this must be one of the worst horror novels in print.

James Herbert is a fine writer. His global appeal, unlimited success and accolades that rank him as a British rival to Stephen King, are all testament to this. As is his work; The Dark, Creed, The Fog, The Rats Trilogy, Others and, especially, The Magic Cottage are all masterpieces that are guaranteed to keep lovers of the genre awake long into the night.

Haunted, however, is an insomniacs dream come true.

Slow to the point of dead (no pun intended), there is little here to take a reader past the first ten pages, as the plot unwinds at a funereal pace and then miraculously finds reverse. The characters - especially the main protagonist, David Ash - are two-dimensional at best, whereas the plot - such as it is - is nonsense-made-prose -personified.

If anybody has ever had a bad day at the office, then James Herbert is surely that body, on the day he sat down and began this horror, of a different sort to which he intended.

Though he should be thanked for giving heart to those who can wish to be only half as successful.

Order this book online - Linghams Booksellers



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“Writing gets me away for a while' from this world and into one where I, alone, can make or
break the rules as I see fit.” - Chris High 2003.
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