James Herbert RIP
I was very sad to hear that the author James Herbert died today aged 69. Once I progressed from listless kids books I found James Herbert when I was probably as young as 11.
My Mum was so scared of mice and rats that she made me cover his first book The Rats in brown paper, thank god she never got to peer inside the pages because Herbert wrote in such a graphic and horrifying way that I couldn’t put it down. Certainly there was no point not finishing it before I went up to bed, because I’d never have slept anyway.
Herbert’s mutant human-eating rats roamed around London and any rustle outside my bedroom window which faced a main road would send shivers down my spine.
Herbert was prolific and his mythological imagination knew no bounds. The Fog was terrifying but perfectly believable to my young mind. Then there was The Survivor followed by Fluke, a cuddly dog that was once a human.
Herbert accompanied me through puberty and would introduce me to occasional sexual situations in his books, but I couldn’t worry about that because mostly they just scared me! The Dark was simply evil and then over time his novels became darker such as Moon, Creed and one of my favourites, The Magic Cottage.
James Herbert was one of my first ever heroes, and his books had me scribbling my own horror stories in my room and was the beginning of a life-long hobby of writing. Herbert’s books used to scare me senseless and unfortunately there won’t be anymore, but somewhere ‘up there’ he will be telling some frightful bedtime stories!
There was a great obituary for him by his friend Peter James (him of Brighton detective Roy Grace) on Radio 4’s Last Words the other day FYI.