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.