James Herbert, “one of the giants of popular fiction”, has died aged 69. James Herbert one of the UK’s most popular novelists and writer of bestselling horror books including The Rats, The Fog and The Survivor.
Jeremy Trevathan, his editor for 10 years, said: “Jim Herbert was one of the keystone authors in a genre that had its heyday in the 1970s and the 1980s. Herbert wrote 23 novels, was published in 34 languages and sold more than 54 million copies worldwide during a writing career, which spanned nearly 40 years.
“Jim Herbert was one of the keystone authors in a genre that had its heyday in the 1970s and 1980s. It’s a true testament to his writing and his enduring creativity that his books continued to be huge bestsellers right up until his death. He has the rare distinction that his novels were considered classics of the genre within his lifetime. His death marks the passing of one of the giants of popular fiction in the 20th century.”
“He has the rare distinction that his novels were considered classics of the genre within his lifetime. His death marks the passing of one of the giants of popular fiction in the 20th-century.”
“The early books still retain an amazing power over me to this day, showing his skill as one of the greats of the horror fiction genre.”
Herbert was born in London in 1943, the youngest son of East End market traders, and got his first work in advertising, becoming art director and head of the agency he joined. The writer is survived by his wife Eileen and their daughters Kerry, Emma and Casey.
At age of 28 he began writing his first novel, a terrifying story of London being overrun by mutant, flesh-eating rats. When The Rats was finally published in 1974, the first print run of 100,000 copies sold out in three weeks.
In an interview last year Herbert said: “I hate violence and I didn’t plan to write horror; it just poured out of me. The great thing is that you can write humour, romance or political thrillers under that genre.”
Herbert, awarded an OBE in 2010, is survived by his wife, Eileen, and their three daughters.