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Mark West pays tribute to James Herbert

James Herbert Horror Legend

I was surprised and saddened to read of James Herbert’s passing. As a kid in the 70s, I clearly remember seeing The Rats and The Fog on my Dad’s bookshelves and being especially scared of the decapitated head on the latter – it was, quite simply, terrifying. I read it much later and, like everyone else of a certain age, I fell for it completely – my original edition probably fell open at the same pages as everyone else’s. I didn’t read a lot of Herbert as time moved on, but I did revisit The Fog a couple of years ago and, apart from being slightly dated (I wonder why it is that stories set in England in the 70s seem to date worse than US set ones, maybe because we’re aware of the changes?), it was still a rollicking read, gloriously gruesome with a great pace though less salacious than I remember it being. I never met Mr Herbert, though I did see him at FantasyCon last year but with his passing the horror genre as a whole – and particularly the British end of it – has lost a true legend.

MARK WEST

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