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zondag 20 december 2009

Others by James Herbert

Mediocre due to being too formulaic

Nicholas Dismas is a Private Investigator. When in pure Raymond Chandler style the beautiful Mrs. Ripstone enters his bleak office, it quickly becomes clear that his next case is not going to be an easy one. Years after giving birth she wants to find out what happened to her baby. At the time the doctor told her that her son died at birth, but she never got the opportunity of saying farewell to the remains. After visiting a clairvoyant she is convinced that her boy is still alive and calls Dimas to help her locate him. At first Dimas is not convinced that he will find anything. Then he discovers a link that leads him even to his own nightmares.

James Herbert is a very competent genre author and that really shows in Others. The build-up to climax is well written and keeps true the momentum of the story. The vivid descriptions are sometimes even worth a reread, just to engulf yourself more into the bizarre environment that the author has created. Sadly enough, although the craftsmanship clearly shows, it is also quickly evident that the story is rather formulaic. You do not have to be a thoroughbred reader to be capable of anticipating what is about to come. The climax becomes laughable because it is so easy to predict the next hurdle that our hero will need to take (who’s left in the house?). Luckily James Herbert succeeds is adding a good pay-off to the end. This certainly reduces the damage, but might not be enough to save the story.

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