Bought second hand somewhere…
An okay 3 out of 5
A peaceful village in Wiltshire is shattered by a disaster which strikes without reason or explanation, leaving behind a trail of misery and horror. A yawning, bottomless crack spreads through the earth, out of which creeps a fog that resembles no other.
Whatever it is, it must be controlled.
I must admit that it took a few stop-starts to get far enough in the book, to actually finish it. It wasn’t bad but it wasn’t that great either. The scenes of utter violence and human depravity were quite dark and James Herbert didn’t hold back on the descriptions. A very old-school horror.
Understandably, the story focuses on a fog that drives people literally insane. It is only this fact, that justifies the horrific events unfolding within the book. If you yourself can imagine, there is no escaping an intangible force such as fog; a real fear-factor.
There were moments when I (unintentionally and out of habit) compared Herbert to King. Yet, they are of two very different persuasions when it comes to horror. Nonetheless, the book was action packed, filled with drama right until the final chapter – and the main character was tolerable throughout.
I cringed at the violence but wasn’t pushed to the point of fear any time while reading, making the book feel like those slasher films where people die gruesome deaths while the story itself is relatively simple and straight forward.
We are introduced to John Holman who just happens to be in the right place at the wrong time. An earthquake erupts, causing a fissure to cut through a village. From within the crevice, a yellowish fog rises from the depths and with it, despair and horror rocks the village and then the country at large.
None can escape it, not even children. Shivers.
John spends his time attempting to figure out who caused the catastrophe (though he has an inkling of an idea) and eventually it becomes a race and effort, to quell the insanity-inducing fog.
This is a much older Herbert book and it is evident in various scenes throughout the book. Not just the lack of cellphones and “modern” technology, but also some offhanded statements here and there about women in general – slightly misogynistic.
What stands out most in the writing, is how visceral the deaths and gore are written. As I’ve said before, James Herbert does not hold back. He describes the acts of violence fully. Including a disturbing scene containing a pair of garden shears. You know? Those giant pair of scissors used to trim hedges? Yeah…
The characters are well portrayed, with enough distinction between them to not appear as “different character same hat” kind of roles. There is even an element of romance between everything, as Holman and his love Casey, work to overcome the horror of the fog, the people affected by the fog… and themselves.
The Fog is not my favourite book but it’s also not the worst book I’ve read. There are other Herbert novels I’ve enjoyed and I’m currently reading another two of his works.
I wasn’t left with any real or lasting effect. This rather short and uninspired book review should be evident enough.
The Fog was first published in 1975.
Did you know: James Herbert’s novels The Fog, The Dark, and The Survivor have been hailed as classics of the genre.
James Herbert was Britain’s number one bestselling writer (a position he held ever since publication of his first novel) and one of the world’s top writers of thriller/horror fiction.
He was 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 19 novels have sold more than 42 million copies worldwide.