Bibliographies & Book Reviews
A Dark and Scary Place
James Herbert was born in 1943 in the East End of London. After leaving art school at 20 and entering the advertising industry, it took him only six years to reach the position of art director. The Rats was written in his spare time as a much needed creative outlet. While Herbert never expected this to be published, the book was an immediate success, filling a gap in the horror literary market. The Rats has since been reprinted well over 20 times, and sold millions of copies. A major ingredient of his outstanding success was undoubtedly constant and progressive originality. Each book was a major departure from his last; this helped Herbert to sell 54 million copies of his books worldwide, and become an international best-selling author. James Herbert was awarded the O.B.E. for Services to Literature by the Queen in 2010. He was awarded the World Grand Master of Horror the same year. He died in 2013 aged 69. This bibliography covers the entirety of his fiction novels.
THE RATS, (c) 1974, NEL (UK) ISBN 0450042774.
The bestseller that started it all. In this first venture, originally intended as a thriller rather than all-out horror, huge black rates emerge from hiding to attack people at random. The killings are swift and sure. The problem quickly escalates, and the people begin to panic. A state of emergency is declared. The authorities consider evacuating London. Harris is an art teacher who becomes embroiled in the fight back against the rats. This leads him to the cellar of the house where it all started, and to a startling discovery. An excellent first novel, open-ended as most horror tales are.
THE FOG, (c) 1975, NEL (UK) ISBN 0450042782.
A story of scientific disaster. Fifteen years ago Professor Broadmeyer at the Ministry of Defence, while working on bacteriological warfare, mutated an organism known as mycoplasma. It was self-reproducing, using only carbon dioxide taken from the air. It attacked healthy brain cells in man and animals, causing extreme madness and finally death. It was sealed beneath the ground. Now it has escaped through major cracks in the earth, and is wreaking havoc on its way through several small towns. However, the wind is carrying it ever closer to the larger populated areas.
THE SURVIVOR, (c) 1976, NEL (UK) ISBN 0450032418.
David Keller is the only survivor of a 747 air disaster. Strange and seemingly unrelated horrific events follow, and a mystic tries to convince him that the spirits of the passengers remain. Initially sceptical, he is eventually forced to trace each step of the events leading up to the crash. Is he responsible? This is when he learns the importance of his involvement. But the dead are walking.
FLUKE, (c) 1977, NEL (UK) 0450053253.
A story of reincarnation. Fluke is a mongrel dog who comforts a dying tramp - the end of a wasted life. He tries to explain to the man that this is not necessarily the end, by telling the story of how sporadic memories of another existence persisted until finally he realised he had lived a past life - as a man. Originally, Herbert's regular publisher was unhappy with this offering, as it was a departure from the horror for which he was by now well known, but finally relented.
LAIR, (c) 1978, NEL (UK) ISBN 0450053288.
In this first sequel to The Rats, the mutant two-headed white rat, which survived at the conclusion of the first, grows steadily stronger. It is fed by the lower-class black rats, who bring sustenance to the cellar room. But the mutant remembers the taste of human flesh. This time the hero of the piece is Pender, an experienced exterminator with the firm Ratkill.
THE SPEAR, (c) 1979, NEL (UK) ISBN 0450043003.
Steadman investigates the disappearance of a Mossad agent, and is caught up in the rise of neo-Nazi cultists as they plan to unleash the ancient evil power of the spear on the world. The relic from Man's primal past is uncovered in the present day . Herbert ties in Hitler's interest in the occult.
THE DARK, (c) 1980, NEL (UK) ISBN 0450049701.
In Willow Road, horrific events have occurred over a number of years - mainly killings and mutilation. All are unexplained. Jessica Keller, the daughter of a leading scientist of psychic research is investigating. It leads her to Beechwood, an ancient house which was utilised in the past by Kirkhope, who believed in evil, inherent in man, as a useable power.
THE JONAH, (c) 1981, NEL (UK) ISBN 0450053164.
Kelso is dogged with constant bad luck throughout his life; supposed accidents of death being visited upon any people foolish enough to get close to him - whether friend or enemy. He is sent to investigate drugs smuggling in a coastal town, but he finds a dangerous organisation which puts his very sanity at stake. Each alternate chapter leaves the present and describes an unfortunate and terrifying event in his past. For me, this is the best of the bunch so far from Herbert.
SHRINE, (c) 1983, NEL (UK) ISBN 0450056597.
A deaf-mute girl called Alice is visited by a vision in white, claiming to be the immaculate conception. Alice is cured and begins to perform miracles. The site soon becomes a shrine for hoards of sick and crippled pilgrims. But the supposedly innocent little girl is possessed by a corrupt and centuries-old evil force, and the people have stumbled into a merciless trap.
DOMAIN, (c) 1984, NEL (UK) ISBN 0450058220.
In this secon sequel to The Rats, a long-expected nuclear holocaust wreaks devastation on London. Those few people who are not killed or mutilated are driven underground, where there is a slim possibility of survival from the poisonous ashes. The rats know that man is weak and vulnerable, and so emerge from hiding to roam the ruined streets. They seek out the scattered survivors and begin a series of attacks, thereby slowly but surely taking control of the city. The results of the holocaust are very realistically and vividly described, many times relegating the problem of the rats almost to an afterthought.
MOON, (c) 1985, NEL (UK) ISBN 0450389995.
Childes is a reluctant psychic, who feels the presence of a psychopathic serial killer. Periodic images flashing in his mind's eye, supply him with information on the killer's increasingly inventive methods of mutilation, even to the extent of raw human organs being consumed. But he does not know the identity. The killer can feel Childes' presence in his head, and is out to get him.
THE MAGIC COTTAGE, (c) 1986, NEL (UK) ISBN 0450409376.
Mike Stringer and Midge Gudgeon purchase Gramarye, a cottage in Cantrip, a small and remote area deep in the heart of the New Forest, Hampshire. Here they discover the building to be possessed of genuine magic, which materialises in many various forms: forest animals are drawn to the place; Midge's painting and Mike's music improve by unnatural degrees; and their emotions, particularly their love for each other, is enhanced. But there is also a bad magic presence: attacking bats, unholy creatures and, worst of all, the insane sect who want the cottage for themselves, and plan to get it.
SEPULCHRE, (c) 1987, NEL (UK) ISBN 0450426688.
The Sumerians have left a legacy from a past age: the secret of immortality, etched in runes. Kline has the power, but maintains it by drawing the very life's essence from innocent parties. Halloran is a psychic, employed in Kline's service as his bodyguard. At Neath, Kline's ancient house, Halloran learns his connection with the old man's secret, and the price Kline must pay for his power: to harbour a secret far more terrible than his own.
HAUNTED, (c) 1988, NEL (UK) ISBN 0450493555.
David Ash travels to a house called Edbrook, to investigate psychic disturbances. During his three-night stay, he is victim to constant mind games. He converses with the family which had occupied the house years before - now all dead, and Christina, the schizophrenic daughter. Moreover, he faces the lifetime enigma of his own past.
CREED, (c) 1990, NEL (UK) ISBN 0450547434
Joe Creed is a sleazy paparazzo photographer. While secretly photographing a celebrity's funeral, he notices another watching man. When the gathered mourners move away, the man approaches and desecrates the grave, chanting incantations. The man sees the snapping Creed and leaves - only to return to Creed's house, attempting to obtain the film. From this oint Creed is drawn into a world of demons and nightmare situations, where it is difficult to separate illusion and imagination from reality. A promotional trailer for this book was filmed and shown at selected cinemas.
PORTENT, (c) 1992, NEL (UK) ISBN 0450588858.
At various locations around the world, including the Great Barrier Reef, San Francisco, the Gulf of Mexico, and Grenada, in the West Indies, there are sightings of bright circular light, with a periphery of rainbow hues. Each sighting is proceeded by a seemingly natural major disaster - earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, etc. Two children have the power to affect the future of the planet. A hermit in Scotland harbours an extraordinary secret. However, a New Orleans cult has plans to kill them.
THE GHOSTS OF SLEATH, (c) 1994, HarperCollins (UK) ISBN 0006475973.
Psychic investigator David Ash (last present in Haunted) searches for a scientific explanation for a haunting. He may find love, but the past will certainly find him. A Gothic tale of drowned children.
'48, (c) 1996, HarperCollins (UK) ISBN 0006476007.
A fast-paced chase novel set in London just after the Second World War. Adolf Hitler had unleashed the Blood Death at the end of the war and by 1948 everyone in Britain had died except those with the blood group AB Negative, which are somehow immune. American pilot Hoke is one such person, and a slowly-dying group of Fascists are after his blood.
OTHERS, (c) 1999, Pan Macmillan (UK) ISBN 0330376128
Nick Dismas is a private investigator - given a unique second chance - who investigates the cruel experiments involving badly disabled people at the Perfect Rest home for the elderly. Written in the first person, this tale has shades of The Island of Dr Moreau. Unnerving.
ONCE, (c) 2001, Pan Macmillan (UK) ISBN 0330376136.
This is 'A scary tale of Faere Folkis & Evildoers, of Lovers & Erotic Passion, of Horror & Belief. Written only for adults.' Thom is the main character in this novel, which returns to Shrine and The Magic Cottage territory. Accompanying the graphic horror, there is eroticism and dark humour. Matters turn cataclysmic, with a black magic conclusion straight out of a Dennis Wheatley book. Rumbo returns from Fluke - now in the form of a fox.
NOBODY TRUE, (c) 2003, Pan Macmillan (UK) ISBN 0330411675.
Jim True has out-of-body experiences, but returns one time to find he has been murdered. This is a journey of self-discovery, as Jim attempts to uncover the truth. He finds out along the way that nobody close to him is 'true'. This is also written in the first person. Who wouldn't want to know what people really think about them? Insecurity personified - and a recipe for conflict.
THE SECRET OF CRICKLEY HALL, (c) 2006, Pan Macmillan (UK) ISBN 9780330411684.
Remembered for the well in the basement, this 600 page-turner follows Gabe and Eve, who have recently lost their five year-old child and move into a house with a violent and sinister past that is reflecting on the present.
ASH, (c) 2012, Pan Macmillan (UK) ISBN 9780230706965.
David Ash is back as a completion to his journey, and a not fully realised confrontation with the troublesome evil spirit of his sister. This is more than just a ghost story. It's just as much of a conspiracy theory incorporating the Inner Court of missing dignatories. Intriguing and full of suspense.
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