Ash by James Herbert


I was a teenager when I started reading James Herbert’s books and for me he was one the best horror fiction writers around.  A British rival to Stephen King! So Ash was definitely on my list to read.

James’ usual style is to draw you into the story slowly and subtly, introducing strange happenings and characters bit by bit. Then all of a sudden the pace of the story quickens, as does our hearts, as more creepy, scary things happen. Ash is no exception to this and is a brilliant story. What makes it unique is that James has mixed some basic fact with fiction this time – what is true is up to us to decide.

David Ash, ghost hunter and parapsychologist, is the central character. You may remember him if you read the book Ghosts of Sleath. David is a little troubled from that investigation but is trusted to go to Comraich Castle – a scary place in Scotland. Strange goings on have been happening and his task is to find out why. Simple? Well…no. James has created a horror story with many layers. David is affected by the atmospheric castle, we find out about its’ gruesome history and even though on the façade this castle is a retreat for the rich it has many other purposes. The dungeons are also very mysterious. But essentially evil is at the core of this castle and is feeding off its occupants past and present.

All the characters have interesting backgrounds which has led them to the castle. Even though we meet a lot of people, James Herbert has weaved their stories together to create a perfect horror story. Ash is a character we really care about and want him to succeed in his task but also stay safe. He is not perfect but that adds to why we like him.

I don’t want to say too much or I will spoil the story if you haven’t read it already. But if you love suspense, mystery and being a little scared, this book is definitely for you. Fact, fiction, history and present are all weaved together to create an amazing story that will have you hooked form the start. Sadly this is the last book James Herbert published before he died in March 2013 and I think it is a great book to end with.

Have you read Ash or any other of James Herbert’s books? Let me know what you thought.

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