Nobody true - James Herbert
What happens when you lose your body? Jim True knows. He has returned from an out-of-body experience to find he has been brutally murdered and his bod...
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Review of "Nobody true - James Herbert"
“I wasn’t there when I died. Really. I wasn’t. And finding my body dead came as a shock. Hell, I was horrified, lost, couldn’t understand what the fuck had happened.” James True is one third of the True, Guinane, Presswell enterprise that operates in the hurly burly world of advertising. Having discovered the strange ability to leave his body at the age of 6, out of body (OBEs) experiences have been a regular feature ever since passing out in a Bournemouth boarding house having swallowed a hot piece of potato. Married to Andrea with a young daughter called Prim, James True tells the curious tale of how events unfolded after he was murdered whilst experiencing an OBE. The difficulty is that he is still present and yet he isn’t, his physical body having been savagely mutilated in a hotel room whilst on an idea generation weekend with his business partner, Oliver.The main suspects include a mysterious serial killer who he has encountered whilst out of body and the previously mentioned close partner, Oliver Guinane who happens to be a former lover of his wife, Andrea. To add to the suspicion, Oliver and James had been heard having a loud disagreement about a pending merger with another large advertising firm with Oliver disappearing into the night in a rage. Publicly, the prime candidate seems to be Alex Moker, a hideously deformed porter who works shifts in a hospital morgue but has a penchant for murdering people with a knitting needle. The curious thing is that the victims invariably do something to totally degrade themselves before they die which is totally out of character and simply doesn’t make sense. However, there are factors present that suggest a modus operandi that differs from the feared serial killer giving the police food for thought and reason for doubt. As this stage, I’ll leave you to discover who it is that turns out to be the killer of James True; whether True resolves the problem of no longer having a body and the more wide reaching aspects of the plot that surround his mother and father.
I would start by saying that I’ve been reading James Herbert for many years and this is very typical output for those legions that class themselves as fans. For the uninitiated, James Herbert has been writing horror/fantasy novels since The Rats was first published in 1974 and has clocked up 20 works of fiction. He is published in 35 other languages and has been the Premiere British horror writer for the last four decades. Here, all the trademark Herbert nuances are there including: a punchy (chapters are typically10 pages long), flowing style, strong powers of description when outlining pen pictures of his characters, a momentum that gathers as the story develops and a rousing finale that brings the strands of plot together. All literary competencies we’ve come to respect and expect ever since The Rats was published all those years ago.I’m not quite sure as to whether James Herbert has been caught up in all the spiritualism that has exploded in popularity on channels like Living TV but there are plenty of references to ghosts, spirits and out of body experiences in the story. Tangents are explored even to the point of expounding theories of what plains our souls roam once we have departed this mortal coil. Quite clearly the driving force for this story, the author does do the subject matter credit with the subtle infusion of the various strands of theory even if it’s difficult for cynics to take too seriously (this is fiction, remember)
At 502 pages, Nobody True is a reasonably long read although I did find the time went quickly as I got caught up in the story. It was interesting to note the way Herbert wrought significance from the title towards the end with a thoughtful reflection of those people who had apparently let the main character down. By widening the main events to draw in the bizarre circumstances surrounding his father’s marriage and the reasons for his mother’s cold, hostile demeanour, the reader comes to realise the significance of the title even if it may be a little late in the day as far as the story goes.Some aspects of this particular book don’t quite work out. The obligatory twist(s) in the tale isn’t/aren’t really that mind blowing and the addendum at the foot of some pages proved to be something of an irritant. The narrative is also intended as something of a cautionary tale but I’m not sure that the characters ever reach the point where empathy gets the reader to care enough. Then again, there is no opportunity for them to do so. As it transpires, just about everybody appears to have an ulterior motive of some description and the little sub-plots that spring up merely serve to isolate the main character even more as the story goes on. Whilst I did like the first person style and the approach of telling the tale as though it was to just one person in a small room, none of the other characters create anything like the same rapport with the reader.
Moreover, some of the gore and degradation may even be seen as gratuitous in some quarters and probably unnecessary to build the suspense and horror in the latter stages of the plot. I was a little nervous that the author used the Turkish nationality in one particularly horrific exchange, which may also attract criticism.Still, this will sell well if only based on Herbert’s phenomenal past pedigree and huge fan base. All the ingredients are there for the customary best-seller: sinister killer, mystical aspects, ghosts and vulnerable victims in peril.
In something like 25 years, I’ve only missed one book of his and I’m sure I’ll be back for more. I just hope the next one is stronger than this.Thanks for reading
Published by Pan Books
RRP: £6.99 although on sale at Tesco for £3.73 now
Product Information : Nobody true - James Herbert
Manufacturer's product descriptionWhat happens when you lose your body? Jim True knows. He has returned from an out-of-body experience to find he has been brutally murdered and his body mutilated. No one can see him, no one can hear him, no one, except his killer, knows he still exists. Freed from his body, True embarks on a quest to find his killer and discover why and how he has managed to survive. As he closes in on his murderer, True discovers that even the very people he loved and trusted have betrayed him. He meets his killer, a strange and sinister figure who can also leave his body at will. An epic and deadly battle ensues between True and a seemingly unstoppable and hideous serial killer - a man now intent on even more murders, including True's wife and child...
Title: Nobody true
Author: James Herbert
ISBN: 0330411675; 0765312123; 140500519X; 1405041188; 1405041730; 1843954303
Listed on Ciao since: 02/10/2003