Title: The Fog
Author: James Herbert
Page Count: 346
One of the things that I particularly like about Herbert’s work is the way that it feels like he’s just documenting an event that actually happened. It’s kind of similar to the way that I’ve approached a few of my novels, like when I was writing Former.ly and tried to cover the story of a social network from start to finish.
There are also some fantastic scenes in here that really stand out, including one that I think I’d heard about somewhere else in which the entire population of a seaside town commits suicide en masse by just walking out into the water. It’s not the goriest of the scenes in the book (that’s probably the one where a dude chops his wife’s head off), but it is one of the images that I’ll be taking away with me and thinking about in the weeks and months to come.
Herbert has an interesting writing style that’s super approachable and a pleasure to read, and he avoids the temptation to try to overcomplicate it by being too “literary”, instead just using a sort of everyday style of language that adds to the brutality. It gives the whole story the feeling that someone’s telling you about it in a pub and that you’re hearing the whole thing first-hand.
There’s a reason why so many people call James Herbert the British answer to Stephen King, although the two of them have very different approaches to storytelling. I think that what they have in common is the way that their writing is able to create and sustain a sense of dread, and I also think that both authors don’t give a damn about the way stories are “supposed” to be told, instead relying on their own sharpened storytelling instincts and breaking all of the rules when it serves them.
Overall then, this is my second James Herbert book after The Rats and so far, I’m really loving his stuff. Recommended from me.