James Herbert – Author

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James Herbert (8 April 1943 – 20 March 2013) was a best-selling British horror author. He originally worked as the art director of an advertising agency. A full-time writer, he also designed his own book covers and publicity. His books have sold 54 million copies worldwide, and have been translated into 34 languages, including Chinese and Russian.

It’s no exaggeration to describe Herbert as one of the greats of the genre, reaching his commercial peak in the 1970s with extreme, violent and sexually explicit novels like The Rats and The Fog. His later novels were more subtle, but no less popular – The Cottage, The Survivor, Haunted and others -all became best sellers.

Despite (or because of) this, Herbert was widely dismissed by his fellow horror authors, partly because of his graphic content but mostly because of professional jealousy – no other UK horror novelist of the era had anything like the same level of success. Herbert remained popular throughout his twenty-three novel career.

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Herbert’s work was adapted to film, with little success – The Rats (aka Deadly Eyes) was a pretty dismal schlocker, The Survivor a dull drama and The Secret of Crickley Hall a tedious TV series. Only Fluke, one of his less substantial novels, resulted in a film that at least reflected the source material. Some authors, no matter how commercial their material is, seem unfilmable.

David Flint, MOVIES and MANIA


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