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Others Hardcover – October 14, 1999


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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Author of such classic chilling tales as The Fog and The Rats, Britain's foremost horror master James Herbert now cleverly transcends the boundaries of detective fiction and the supernatural for Others, a book that begins in the bowels of Hell. In this fiery underworld we meet a former Hollywood movie star, thrust there for a lifetime of depravity. But now this damned soul is given one more shot at redemption, a chance to live again as a human. Begging for a new judgment, he is sent back to earth, without memory of his past life or death. However, his new existence will be a wretched one, living in the body of Nicholas Dismas, a brilliant and tender-hearted private investigator sadly afflicted with horrendous physical deformities. Shunned by strangers, Nicholas struggles not only with his malformed body, but also with a troubling sense of self. Staring in the mirror, other eyes stare back, "too blurred for recognition. That ill-defined but handsome countenance had hinted at something too evasive to remember properly, too vague to focus upon, yet still filled me with a strange, elusive regret." It isn't until Dismas takes on a seemingly run-of-the-mill missing person's investigation that he begins to understand the origins of his own hellish identity.

Others is a dark exploration into the psyche of the eternal outsider, a tormented freak in a cruel society. Gory, but brilliantly conceived, Herbert will leave you feeling haunted long after reading his final words. --Naomi Gesinger

From Publishers Weekly

Herbert's reputation as the king of British horror is founded on his early gore-oriented "nasties" (The Rats; The Fog; etc.). His newest novel (after '48) packs powerful shocks, but continues the recent trend in his writing toward narratives steered by the complex motivations of his characters. Narrator and private investigator Nicholas DismasA"Dis" to his friendsAis a self-described "monster," afflicted with grotesque birth defects that give him uncommon insight into human behavior. But the search for a child declared dead at birth 18 years before triggers a befuddling cascade of events that defy even his understanding: birth-record traces lead to dead ends, knowledgeable authorities can't be located and Dis finds himself haunted by visions of malformed souls that periodically materialize in his mirror. Collaborating reluctantly with Louise Broomfield, his client's psychic adviser, Dis tracks a suspicious former midwife to the Perfect Rest nursing home. There, he encounters both the repellent Leonard Wisbeech, one of the most diabolically perverse doctors in all medical horror fiction, and secret experiments that shed light on the case and on Dis's own obscure origins. Readers who stick with this tale past its lethargic startAin which Herbert labors to contrast Dis's normalcy and the "ugliness" of more physically appealing peopleAwill find a payoff in the over-the-top climax, in which the freak show Wisbeech secretly presides over runs amok. Though punctuated with long expository passages that explain the novel's central mystery, the finale crackles, finding an admirable balance between terrors of the supernatural and the darkness of the human heart.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Forge Books; 1st edition (October 14, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312872933
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312872939
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.6 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,672,200 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

I like long books but this one did not need to be as long as it was.
Awilson
The age old ironic contrasts between superficial beauty and hidden evil and vice versity is charming, and it is handled well by the author.
Mike Varela
The characters are wonderfully written, and the plot is really engaging.
Amy Wallace

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 20, 1999
Format: Hardcover
The public revered him for his good looks and good deeds. However that public icon hid his ugly soul very well on Earth. Now he is just another lost sinner residing in hell until angels visit him with an offer of redemption. Failure to accept or succeed will condemn in hell for eternity. The former movie star jumps at the opportunity.

With no memory of his previous life, he returns to earth in a different body. Nicholas Dismas is a private investigator with a thriving practice in England. Still, he is an unhappy soul. In his own eyes and that of the world, Nicholas is monster and his misshapen body leaves people staring in stunned horror.

A client hires him to locate her missing son that she thought died during childbirth. Nicholas goes through the motions of an investigation, but does not believe there is any chance of success. The client introduces Nicholas to a clairvoyant who becomes his ally by warning him of imminent danger. He finds danger in Perfect Rest, a nursing home that allows its elderly patients to hide a horror that is capable of allowing to surface the dark nature in Nicholas, soul.

James Herbert is one of the recognized masters of the horror genre. Though OTHERS centers on efforts to regain Paradise Lost in the face of extreme adversary, the horror of this tale lies in the brutality humans inflict on less fortunate beings. It is the beauty of the physical form that matters. A handsome person freely walks the earth with admiring glances even if their inside rivals that of Lucifer. On the other hand, those with hearts like Mother Teresa but in deformed bodies will probably be treated as freaks. Could Mr. Herbert be Stoker bound?
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 26, 1999
Format: Hardcover
'Others' is James Herbert's latest book. It follows '48' which was a superb story - easily his best. I was interested to see whether 'Others' would deliver the goods and for the most part I would have to say that it does. The story is intriguing, well-plotted and has a main character, Nic Dismas, who is unlike anything James Herbert has ever created before. Indeed, this was one of the joys of the book, to meet a main character who was far from perfect, who was terribly afflicted and who you really cared for. He drove the story forward and brought a freshness to it. It was nice to see a main character who was flawed. If I have any reservations, they concern the length of the story and its ending. At over five hundred pages, the book is too long and the story seems to drag at the very end. The action sequences seem repetitive. More interesting twists could have been made in the plot, but nonetheless it was a strong story, horrific at times, and well told.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Storm on April 17, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Others is the book that lovers of horror fiction dream about, and James Herbert is the author that all Horror writers should strive to be. Without a doubt I have never read a horror novel of this calibur, nor have I read an author with this amount of talent.
Herbert himself has a tendancy to take us through some amazing twists and turns in his stories, tugging at our emotions and at our fear, digging up within the reader the thing that terrifies him or her most so that he brings us to the point where we are as terrified as we can become.
Others takes this terror one step further, with a story that is based on fact in a way that leaves the reader trembling with exhaustion and terror. Herbert takes us on a trip into some of the most depraved minds imaginable, and leads us through twists and turns that truly brings the reader right into the amazing plot of the outstanding novel.
Thrill seeking readers will enjoy this book for the pumping adrenhalin it provides. Lovers of horror fiction will be on the edges of their seats. And if this is the first James Herbert book you buy... Read it in the dark, and see how you sleep.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Nancy O VINE VOICE on December 5, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
When I finished this book I was as they say, totally creeped. I was expecting something along the lines of Haunted or Ghosts of Sleath (both 5-star books, by the way) but Others was very different. I was more caught up in the morality of it all than with the clairvoyance or more "spooky" aspects. At the end of the book where the author says this book was somewhat based on true events he'd heard about from someone else, I did a double take thinking that his statement couldn't possibly be true. Or could it? That part scared me the most, to be honest. I would recommend this book to anyone but I wouldn't let my 13 year old read it because of the incredibly disturbing images. It is one of those books that, aside from the fictional aspects, really leads a person to think.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 12, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book had me from cover to cover. I was totally captivated by all of his characters. Unlike most authors that take hundreds of pages to create a character, James Herbert get right into the subject with each character in the book. The reading is quick and enjoyable. I have now given this book to several of my friends and they say the same. WOW what a book. I would recommend this book to everyone who enjoys a little scare.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Kathleen P. McCahill on November 14, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
this book was scary. the possibilities of what happens to deformed children who are not wanted or are left to die are examined in fiction by james herbert. scary, in your face and compelling, no thought is left undone. a man (who has intelligence) but is deformed in a physical sense has been reborn as such to redeem himself from a life before that was amoral and filled with depravity. so our hero is put on this earth to redeem himself and make do with the scorn of "normal" people. it is not easy to read this book and think of all the times we have judged the disabled as less than us. to take for granted in a physical sense what we have. in a very descriptive way by herbert, he articulates how the abuse is internalized. this is not a happy book. there are few brief moments of joy and love. our hero finds a rest home that is the secret jail of others like him, who are worse off than him. Of course he was put on earth for a purpose, for himself (the redemption) and for others (to save). i do not agree that he writes (as the flap bragged) that he is like stephen king - who has a tendency to be more subtle and there with kings books there is always a conclusive ending. herbert wrote in his brief and last chapter that this was taken from actual and true events and that he hoped the reader was disturbed. this is a thinking person's book - despite the fiction and horror of it all, you cannot finish reading it without giving a nod to the reality of what if and hope that there are people who are in position with presence of mind to use their powers appropriately.
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