Saturday, 22 July 2017

Haunted

James Herbert
Pan Books

Three nights of terror in a house called Edbrook. Three nights in which David Ash, there to investigate a haunting, will be the victim of horrifying and maleficent games. Three nights in which he will face the enigma of his own past. Three nights before Edbrook's dreadful secret will be revealed - and the true nightmare will begin.

Another in the avalanche of occult detective stories to come my way lately is this little ditty from Herbert.

To the best of my knowledge I've only ever read one other James Herbert book (although there's a good chance I read some as a teen and have forgotten) and that was the exhausting zombie / nazi book '48' which was without doubt the most hectic read of my life.  Haunted is a little more sedate.


David Ash is an investigator for the 'Psychical Research Institute' and it's most famous sceptic - although through the course of the story we discover he believes in pretty much everything except ghosts - which is a funny sort of sceptic - and he's also psychic.

The investigation he's conducting is of a haunting at an old manor house called Edbrock where the Mariell family of 2 brothers, a sister and an elderly aunt are seeing ghosts.  Over the course of 3 nights Ash is confronted by a host of visions, terrors and inexplicable events before the final revelation that you can see coming from about a third of the way in.

It's not that it's a bad book as such, it's got a nicely creepy atmosphere and the story moves along briskly but it feels superficial.  There's no real depth or texture to the goings on.  It kind of feels like a one off TV special, a pilot for an uncommissioned series.  Apparently there are 2 more Ash stories which I'll grab if I see them on a charity shop shelf but they aren't something I'll be hunting down with eager anticipation.

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