Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Review: The Rats by James Herbert

When I was about fourteen, I was on the metro, travelling to Newcastle. This was a regular way to spend Saturdays - I usally wandered about on my own. On this day, just as we were heading into a tunnel, an older kid nearby suddenly said to the lads with him, 'This is just like that bit in The Rats,' and began telling a scene where a tube train ground to a halt in the darkness of a tunned and went into gory detail about what happened next. I was hooked, and when the metro stopped, I went directly to a book shop. The only problem was that I had no money, so I had to read a few pages in one shop, go on to the next and read a few more pages then. Luckily, back then there were lots of books shops in Newcastle city centre.

It's good to see The Rats is still going. The story is simple: giant rats kill loads of people. The mystery is where the rats have come from, but it doesn't really get deeper than that; most of the attraction was the way in which the victims die (like I said, I was fourteen). It got me hooked on James Herbert (I had already read The Fog, thanks to my English teacher slagging it off as sick drivel - cheers for that).

James Herbert calmed his style down in later years, but despite this essentially being an adult horror, I've included the YA tag in this review because it was a teen that recommended it, I was a teen when I read it, and most of my friends got into James Herbert around the same time - partially because I'd written him a letter telling him what my English teacher had said. I've still go the reply.

Shortly before he died, James Herbert sent me a good luck message following the publication of CLASH. He's one writer I would have loved to have met in person.

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