James Herbert is not just Britain's No. 1 bestselling writer of chiller fiction, a position he has held since publication of his first novel, but is one of our greatest popular novelists, whose books are sold in thirty-three other languages, including Russian and Chinese. Widely imitated and hugely influential, his twenty novels have sold more than 50 million copies worldwide.
A multinational corporation hires a protection firm specializing in kidnap and ransom cases to safeguard Felix Kline, a psychic with the ability to root out deposits of precious natural resources. During a weekend at Kline's isolated country estate, the source of the psychic's power is gradually revealed, and the agent assigned to Kline soon begins to wonder which of them needs protection most. Herbert skillfully weaves industrial espionage, terrorism, mythology, and supernatural horror into a fast-moving and well-written narrative. Attention to character, riveting suspense, and a satisfyingly chilling conclusion show Herbert ( Moon , LJ 9/15/86) once again to be a master of the genre. Eric W. Johnson, Univ. of Bridgeport Lib., Ct.
Herbert's latest novel begins as a rather taut political thriller/horror hybrid, but it begins to deteriorate about halfway through, becoming increasingly poorly paced and confused. The story concerns Liam Holloran, a mercenary and the veteran of many violent encounters, who is hired as a bodyguard for Fritz Kline, a psychic who has become aware that his life is threatened but doesn't know by whom. Kline's psychic abilities, it is eventually revealed, are partly the result of an alliance he made long ago with Bel-Marduk, a Sumerian deity who also shows up in Christian theology as the Fallen Angel, Lucifer. Kline and his cohorts are a grisly but one-dimensional lot and Herbert doesn't have very much of a story for them to show off in. The author increasingly relies on repulsive detail in lieu of solid plotting and character development. After the intriguing beginning, a disappointment. (June)