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Ash by James Herbert
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Ash (edition 2012)

by James Herbert

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996122,024 (2.83)3
Member:TheLostEntwife
Title:Ash
Authors:James Herbert
Info:Tor Books (2012), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 704 pages
Collections:2012 Reads
Rating:*1/2
Tags:None

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Ash by James Herbert

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Really enjoyed the concept of this James Herbert book... makes you wonder... could it happen?
  Joy.Burniston | May 26, 2013 |
I'm a horror fan, and everywhere I went this book was being advertised at me. I saw it on the tube, I saw it on YouTube... and when I went to Amazon, it was only 99p so I grabbed it. And boy was I disappointed.

I found out later that this was the third book in a trilogy, I don't think I missed much by not having read them.

I've not read anything else by this author, so I have nothing to compare it to, but it was pretty unbearable. It was actually worse than some of the free things I've read from Amazon, and that's a feat.

Instalove, in an adult novel. No explanation, nothing but twoo wuv from the instant they laid eyes on each other. With all of the play about how connected he felt to her, I thought it was a set up for something horrible and supernatural. How disappointed I was.

Some truly dire graphic sex scenes as a result. Sex scenes I actually skipped over whole paragraphs of because they were so goddamn boring.

A woman who had a night of Hot Lesbian Sex That We Can Discuss Endlessly But Really Only Wants Men (tm). A ragingly jealous, bitter, jilted lesbian.

Throughout the whole novel, I just thought David Ash was a wimpy idiot. Yes, he's supposed to be SO BRAVE with all his wandering and not being afraid of anything and talking back, but meh. He just seemed so lackluster, not like any kind of hero (which I'm sorry, if you're the lead in a novel, you're the hero, even if you're an everyman).

Delphine was SO PERFECT and yet SO PERFECTLY USELESS and as a result so flat it was painful. I didn't want to read one more thing about the woman. Their dialogue together was stilted to the point of being painful.

The premise was barely believable (really, this castle that rich people disappear into and no one ever hears from them again and this is just the done thing? No family or friends have anything to say about this? I know, I know, tragedy and criminals but meh. And NO ONE knows where it is, to the point that they try to "trick" him by driving around for ages before going there? Bullshit. It's a ginormous building, everybody and their mother is going to know it's there.). The name dropping drove me INSANE (Gadaffi? Really?).

And let's not forget the writing. This was at least a hundred pages longer than it needed to be, dragging where it should have been suspenseful and full of overly descriptive prose. Also, EVERYONE in the book, even the so-called high minded doctors continually referred to the people held captive in the sub-basement (in frankly appalling conditions) as "lunatics". Are we in 1976?

And do NOT even get me started on the antagonist (of sorts) and "The Boy". The person who invited the haunting was HITLER'S DAUGHTER. The Boy was Louis, son of Charles and Diana, born ridiculously early with serious health issues. Also, big freaking reveal - as soon as they say early on that he's a hemophiliac, you know it's going to be a royal with the way this has been going so far. And Diana's GHOST get's involved and helps them, then takes her son when he dies. HONESTLY. I nearly threw the book then, but it's on my Kindle.

There are so many other things I hated about this book, but frankly I don't even want to think about it any more.

Format: Kindle
Price Paid: 99p
Recommended: No
Value: overpriced
Will I Buy the Next: No power on this earth could make me ( )
  bloodofareptile | Apr 5, 2013 |
David Ash specialises in paranormal investigation, even though he is (paradoxically) more than a little sceptical about the concept. When he is asked to investigate weird-bordering-on-violent and dangerous happenings at Comraich Castle in Scotland, he feels a sense of obligation to take the case. The massive fees will more than bail the agency he works for out of the red and into the black for a long time. He is told very little about the inhabitants/owner, just that it is a kind of sanatorium (for want of a better word) for the very very rich and possibly famous/notorious. He signs a non-disclosure agreement, gets on a plane to Scotland, and almost ends up dead before he has even set foot in the castle. From then on, Ash digs and ferrets his way towards the truth, and a horrible truth it is too, involving the sheltering of many of the world's notorious war criminals and other tarnished political/important figures. Medical experiments, dark and terrible secrets, assassinations, use of unconventional drugs, and many cover-ups make this a castle to fear, plus its bloody past. One thinks of clandestine societies et al once the name Inner Circle is bandied about. One also fears Ash will not be able to leave once he has uncovered the source of the strange and now deadly phenomena. He does, but no one believes him. Despite the place literally crashing about his ears, Ash finds time to appreciate the beauty of the resident psychologist and uncover a Royal secret.

This should be a real page-turner, keeping the reader glued to each word. So, what's the problem? About halfway through, the whole story sort of falls apart. The theories/ideas behind the plot are fantastical and if the pace were speeded up, the reader would be on a roller-coaster horror ride. However, apart from a great start to the novel, the pace just slows down to the wading-through-treacle level and simply drags. Chase, fight, and hunt sequences that should erupt and sweep the reader into fast-paced action are too long and drawn out. I am surprised this book was not more ruthlessly edited. Page after page of running through a forest being chased by wild cats; more pages of creeping through spider-infested tunnels... it's too much. Although the idea of the castle being a shelter for the rich and socially/politically disgraced could work, there are simply too many war criminals, murderers, and African despots to make this angle credible. The Royal secret and use of the royals does not really work. Nor does the highly improbable Nazi connection between the source of the psychic disturbances and Hitler. The fantastic ends up being the unbelivable/ludicrous in some places, and there are just too many historical figures in hiding for this to work. The ending was also inconclusive. I was disappointed. I did expect a tighter, better-paced book, given the author's reputation. The author also seems to be fascinated with the grotesque in humans, both physical and mental. ( )
  FionaRobynIngram | Jan 31, 2013 |
Ash by James Herbert is the third in the series- yet it has enough stand-alone information woven throughout the story-line that it could be read on its own. This book has been the reason that I've slept with my lights on the last few nights. It had all the ingredients necessary for a kick-butt horror story: the creepy castle in Scotland, luxury and wealth, a whole host of bad guys all under the same roof, and a tormented, parapsychologist who has been hired to investigate.

I accepted this book for a review because I'd read good things about James Herbert. While horror is not my go-to genre, I have respect for King's earlier works and have been working my way through some other titles as well. While the horror elements contained within Ash were not bad (even succeeding, as evidenced by the light comment above), it were other parts of the story that came off as simply not-believable. The entire book takes place within a three-day main period... that alone is not enough though for my criticism. Ultimately, it was the relationship that develops between David Ash and one of the staff at the castle. Within one day these two adults, both of whom have had traumatic, romantic encounters, are declaring their love for one another and are unable to keep their hands off one another. Add that into the fact that David Ash is to investigate a massive castle along with the other horrors that are happening and it all translates into at least 60 hour days.

I read, after finishing the final pages of Ash, that this is not the finest of Herbert's work. At this point in time, I'll have to just take those reviewers word for it - because of Ash is any indication of what Herbert is capable of, I'm afraid I'm just not interested. ( )
  TheLostEntwife | Dec 18, 2012 |
The grand return of James Herbert may fail to deliver the tightly written horror of yesteryear, for Ash is more akin to Stephen King than Herbert's previous work. The sheer size of the book is daunting to start with and the pages turn easily enough as layer after layer of the story are peeled away. There's a myriad of story-lines at work, some intersecting, some red herrings to the ultimate finale.

Herbert is not scared of tackling clichéd territory (as seen in the spooky Crickley Hall) and here he works hard at spinning one in to something interesting and Ash is not just another haunted castle caper. The insistence of adhering to the supernatural code early on creates enough tension to linger whilst the middle, somewhat slower, fleshed out characters and prepares content to be ignited closer to the end. The finale is also somewhat flat, however there's a more realistic feel to the final third rather than a reliance of supernatural rabbits being pulled out of previously hidden hats which is seen so often in this genre.

Herbert has clearly matured in his writing and imagination, this is not a rinse and repeat of previous material, it's less gory and less unlikely in it's supernatural bent. The far fetched elements actually are delivered by human hands and minds in Ash, the background and purpose of the haunted castle is stretched so thin you could see through it as the book escalates, however Herbert is clearly reminding us that he is a British author and horror can still offer a wry side too. ( )
  SonicQuack | Oct 7, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0765328968, Hardcover)

Deep in the countryside, ghost hunter David Ash is investigating a mysterious, secluded stately home. Reports from locals regarding strange goings-on make him think the house is haunted... But not even David Ash's long professional history of warding off evil spirits can prepare him for the shocking discovery that awaits.
 
International bestselling horror writer James Herbert weaves a terrifying narrative featuring his best-loved character, David Ash, the skeptical detective of the paranormal introduced in the UK number one bestsellers, Haunted and The Ghosts of Sleath.
 
Prepare to be chilled to the marrow…

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:44:40 -0400)

Visiting a secluded stately home that country locals believe to be haunted, paranormal investigator David Ash looks into stories about strange occurrences and makes a shocking discovery beyond anything he has ever encountered.

(summary from another edition)

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