Quick Review (read on for full review)
An original, dark and disturbing horror story on the theme of redemption. Atmospheric, chilling and not for the faint of heart. 4 /5
Summary (from Goodreads)
Nicholas Dismas is a Private Investigator, but like no other that has gone before him. He carries a secret about himself to which not even he has the answer . . .
He is hired to find a missing baby. One that was taken away at birth . . . Or was it?
His investigation takes him to a mysteriously located place called Perfect Rest. It is supposed to be a nursing home for the elderly . . . But is it?
Here Dismas will discover the dark secret of the Others. And in an astonishing and spectacular finale he will resolve the enigma of his own existence . . .
Beggars, beaches, bitches and batty old ladies – the images spun round my mind like a carousel filled with harpies.
I’m a big fan of James Herbert and have read many of his books over recent years. There is something about his writing that captures the “creepiness” factor that not all horror writers can achieve, whilst at the same time wrapping it up in a story you actually what to get to the end of.
This is one of those books.
Others follows the life of Nicholas Dismas, a hunchbacked private investigator based in Brighton. When he’s asked to find a client’s missing baby, little did he know where the case would lead. The strange mystery slowly transforms into an even stranger supernatural tale.
The characters really make this story work. Dis is a complex character as he struggles to deal with his own personal demons whilst at the same time, having people look to him to as a hero after a lifetime of having strangers think of him as a monster simply because of the way he looks. Constance Bell, who works at Perfect Rest (the world’s creepiest nursing home), and Louise Broomfield a Brighton-based clairvoyant, are both interesting, engaging characters, that work well with Dis.
There’s a terribly sad undercurrent to this story; I won’t say any more for fear of giving too much away. It is dark tale, with dark and disturbing passages, some of which make for uncomfortable reading, given the author’s powerful imagination and ever greater power of description.
I thought the opening was very clever. Herbert lets the reader know from the off that this is a tale of redemption so we are clued in whilst the characters are not. Instead of this tactic revealing too much, what it does do is heighten the tension when strange and supernatural things start to happen.
I didn’t find this to be a quick read. The story unfolds slowly and the pace is fairly moderate until you reach the last 150 pages or so. That is why I rated it four stars and not the full five.
The final sentence of Herbert’s End Note (which makes for interesting / surprising / sad reading in its entirety) reads, “I sincerely hope you have been disturbed.” Quite!