British horror author James Herbert has passed away at the age of 69. Described by his editor Jeremy Trevathan as “one of the keystone authors in a genre that had its heyday in the 1970s and 1980s” Herbert transcended the fads and fashions of his genre and remained a best-selling author right up to the end of his career.
Herbert’s first novel The Rats, a lurid and bloodthirsty story of a new strain of super-intelligent killer vermin, was published in 1974 and became an instant best-seller. It was followed in time by two sequels - Lair (1979) and the post-apocalyptic Domain (1984). London-born Herbert went on to write a total of twenty-three novels including ‘48 (1996), an alternative-history novel in which Hitler has devastated the human race with biological weapons and The Fog (1975) where a deadly mist causes insanity and brutal violence. Many of his later novels were more supernaturally-flavoured; The Magic Cottage (1986), The Ghosts of Sleath (1994) and Others (1999). In Nobody True (2003) a murder victim hunts his own killer from beyond the grave. More recent works include The Secret of Crickley Hall (2006, adapted into a successful three-part BBC drama last year) and 2012’s Ash, released in paperback edition just this week, is a compelling and contemporary take on the old haunted house tale.
James Herbert, who was awarded the OBE in 2010, died peacefully at his Sussex home and is survived by his wife and three daughters. Starburst sends its condolences to his family and friends.