Ashes to ashes

James Herbert will finally complete the David Ash trilogy when the long awaited new novel Ash is published next year. Ash features one of Herbert’s best-loved characters, David Ash, the sceptical paranormal detective, first encountered in The Haunted and later in The Ghosts of Sleath both No. 1 bestsellers. Ash is investigating a mysterious and secluded stately home, deep in the countryside. There have been reports from locals about strange goings on, they think it might be haunted . . . What Ash eventually discovers is truly shocking.

Prepare to be chilled to the marrow  when Ash comes out next May. Now in his 60’s Herbert has enjoyed a long reign as the undisputed king of British horror with more than 40 million copies of his books scattered in bookcases around the world.

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JAMES HERBERT AND I – when I was a teenager, it wasn’t rock stars or movie stars that had me smitten but writers and horror writers at that.  Stephen King and James Herbert were two of my favourite authors and I’d write to both of them after reading one or other of their books.

 

King never wrote back but Herbert did – every time.

I wish I still had those letters.

From our correspondence I felt that Herbert was something of a reluctant horror author, he certainly didn’t talk about the genre as much as King did, preferring instead to allow his books to speak for themselves. And indeed Herbert often outsold King on these shores.

Now unlike King, James Herbert seems to have fallen off the radar somewhat but all his books are still in print and indeed anyone who fancies a chilling read could do worse than pick up one of his books. Some of the stuff is of the pulpy creature feature variety – The Rats trilogy for one, but some of his books are beautifully written works of dark art – The Shrine deserves to be read by anyone and Fluke is a great shaggy dog story with a difference.

Back in the day Herbert’s books kept me awake at night and had me checking beneath the bed before turning out the lights – but it was a good fear, a delicious chill and anyone who has ever been thrilled by a good ghost story will know what I mean.

And if James Herbert does happen to read this – thanks for answering the letters. I’ll have to send you a western.

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