For almost 40 years, Herbert was Britain's most popular horror author. With sales f over 50 million copies, he carved a niche in quality bestselling fiction all of his own. Famous for his Rats trilogy and The Fog, he broke away from the cut-and-thrust populist horror novels of the 1970s and 80s to more thought-provoking works, featuring the scientific reasoning behind the manifestations of the ghosts and spirits in which he truly believed. Books such as Others, Once..and The Secret of Crickley Hall bear testament to his growth as a writer and his continuing desire to chill his readers. Craig Cabell's exploration into the dark, sinister world of James Herbert is given incredible depth thanks to a series of over a dozen exclusive candid interviews. Drawing striking parallels between Herbert's career and the events of his life, this work sheds light on the personal demons which drove the boy from London's East End to become the per-eminent horror writer of his generation. Cabell, a friend and confident of Herbert's until the very end, shares personal correspondence and reminiscences - including one of Herbert's previously unpublished pieces entitled To Ye All - to complete a portrait of one of the most iconic authors of the 20th Century. Prepare to be gripped by the utterly adsorbing last chapter in the life of the Master of Chills.
Craig Cabell was a freelance reporter for 20 years, working most notably for The Independent newspaper. He spent five years as a freelance music journalist and five years as an in-house reporter with the Ministry of Defence (MoD) House journal Focus. He interviewed generals, princes, lords, arms-dealers, prime ministers and a host of authors, musicians and other celebrities, as well as writing three regular wine and books columns, and was the editor of the first MoD online daily news service.
He went on to become the Small Arms desk officer of the Ministry of Defence,created the Sniper Pyramid and the industry group the Ballistic Toolkit, and also introduced the Nimbus Non-lethal Car Protection System into Iraq through the FCO. Diversely he also became an expert in rare books from Charles Dickens to Ian Rankin, and was a writer for Book and Magazine Collector for 20 years.
Craig is the author of 18 biography and history books(and over 20 chap books, more about them later). He was the main author of the acclaimed Operation Big Ben - the anti-V2 Spitfire Missions, 1944-45 (with Graham Thomas), which enjoyed a book launch at Duxford, where Raymond Baxter and Lady Bader were guests of honour. A special dinner at the 602 Squadron Museum in Glasgow resulted in Raymond Baxter presenting a signed copy of the book to the museum director. A short CGI movie was also made of the book, which can be viewed on You Tube. It is interesting to note that Craig has also provided several special Introductions to Graham Thomas' own non-fiction books, which can be found listed in Craig's bibliography below and on Graham's own Author Page.
Craig's book concerning 30 Assault Unit (a crack team of commandos created by Ian Fleming) was adapted into the movie Age of Heroes (featuring Sean Bean and Danny Dyer), and his first Kray book The Image Shattered was optioned for TV in 2013.
Craig wrote the authorised biographies of Frederick Forsyth and horror writer James Herbert with their full cooperation. For the 60th anniversary of VE Day he released a book concerning the circumstances leading up to the surrender of the Nazis and reminiscences of people who were alive and experienced those events. Extracts from the book (co-written with Allan Richards) were acted out by Richard E Grant at a gala event in Trafalgar Square to mark the 60th anniversary, and Craig appeared on a host of radio shows, BBC TV news features, and several public signing sessions.
Craig's work for government services saw him travel to Kuwait, South America and North America, as a regional desk officer. He has studied several areas of US politics, including the lives and assassinations of John K Kennedy and Robert Kennedy (see Operation 40 and the Big Event,From Assassination to Extermination). He book Killing Kennedy is a thorough ballistic report of the JFK assassination, based upon his expertise in the Small Arms sector. His interest in the work of Edward Curtis inspired his interest in the plight of Native American Indians, and culminated with his first completed short story featuring antiquarian book dealer Jason Maccleson, titled 'Words of a Free Spirit', which is available as a stand-alone eBook. The first Jason Maccleson novel A Pharaoh's Last Secret is also available as an Amazon eBook and details the murders surrounding the discovery of Tutankhamen's tomb in the 1920s and how Agatha Christie knew all about it.
For nearly 40 years, Craig studied the life and career of Horatio Nelson and spent some considerable time researching archive material in Portsmouth and Greenwich. His work in East Anglia researching the Witchfinder General, Matthew Hopkins, spawned a noteworthy book that brings together all the published facts about the notorious man.
Craig's extensive list of chap books (small press, limited editions booklets) are being published by Bellack Productions on Amazon across 2014 as revised eBooks, alongside his first three novels (The Dance of the Necromancer - 1988; Jophalla - 1996;and Abdicus - 1999). Bellack Productions is an association of authors created by Craig to publish their own work, the way they want it.
Note:try searching for Bellack Productions on Amazon to find a diverse bunch of exciting and affordable work.
Frederick Forsyth - A Matter of Protocol, the Authorised Biography (Robson, 2001)
The Kray Brothers - The Image Shattered (Robson, 2002)
James Herbert - Devil in the Dark, the Authorised True Story (Metro, 2003)
Operation Big Ben - the anti-V2 Spitfire Missions 1944-45 (with Graham A Thomas) (Spellmount, 2004)
VE Day - A Day to Remember (with Allan Richards) (Pen & Sword, 2005)
Snipers (with Richard Brown) (Blake, 2005)
Dennis Wheatley - Churchill's Storyteller (Spellmount, 2006)
Getting Away With Murder (with Lenny Hamilton) (John Blake, 2007)
Witchfinder General - the Biography of Matthew Hopkins (Sutton, 2007)
Ian Fleming's Secret War - Author of James Bond (Pen & Sword, 2008)
Ian Fleming's Red Indians - The History of 30 Assault Unit (Pen & Sword, 2009)
Ian Rankin and Inspector Rebus (John Blake Publishing, 2010)
The Doctors Who's Who (John Blake Publishing, 2010) (extended for 50th Anniversary in 2013)
The Hunt for Captain Kidd (with Graham A Thomas & Allan Richards) (Pen & Sword, 2010)
Terry Pratchett - The Spirit of Fantasy (John Blake, 2011)
The Hunt for Blackbeard (with Graham A Thomas & Allan Richards) (Pen & Sword, 2012)
Killing Kennedy - The President's Last Day (John Blake, 2013)
Iain Banks - Student Without Portfolio (Bellack Productions, 2014)
A Pharaoh's Last Secret (Bellack Productions,2014)
Dennis Wheatley and the Occult (Kindle edition),(Bellack Productions, 2014)
Black Sniper (Short Story) (Bellack Productions, 2014)
A Spooky Thing Happened on the Way to the Keyboard (Bellack Productions, 2014)
Operation 40 and the Big Event (Bellack Productions, 2014)
From Assassination to Extermination (Bellack Productions, 2014)
The Curse of the Baskervilles (Bellack Productions, 2014)
Words of a Free Spirit (A Jason Maccleson Short Story)(Bellack Productions, 2014)
The Man Who Loved Christmas
Akin to Light
The Flame and the Whisper
Annabelle Says (Stephen Laws and Simon Clark) (Hodder/Fantasy Society, 1994)
Furies Over Korea - the story of the men of the Fleet Air Arm, RAF and Commonwealth who defended South Korea, 1950-1953 by Graham A Thomas (Grub Street, 2003)
Firestorm, Typhoons Over Caen, 1944 by Graham A Thomas (Grub Street, 2007)
Terror from the Sky - the Battle Against the Flying Bomb by Graham A Thomas (Pen & Sword, 2008)
The Dan Brown Enigma by Graham A Thomas (John Blake, 2011)
How It All Began by Craig Cabell:
After 12 years of writing articles and interviewing authors for various magazines and newspapers, I found that I got to know certain writers very well. They trusted me, and felt that the reviews or articles I wrote were a fair reflection of their latest work and past highlights. So when I told them that I wanted to make them the subject of a book, they weren't necessarily that wary of my angle or credentials. So quite naturally, James Herbert and Frederick Forsyth were the first two people I would write about, because I had worked with them the most.
I wrote my first book Frederick Forsyth - A Matter of Protocol, after offering Robson Books the opportunity to publish my finished manuscript of James Herbert - Devil in the Dark. They basically said that they preferred Forsyth as a subject matter for a 'man and His Works' type of book, but would consider the Herbert book afterwards.
A Matter of Protocol was based upon a dozen different interviews with Forsyth, so was quite easy to write, because he demanded that the book would be 'no more than 10,000 words biography and no more than 50,000 words overall'. I agreed but the publisher still published it as an 'Authorised Biography' and neglected to show me proofs, so I remain irritated by a few typos in the book and photo section. That said, the book was studied at university level as a good example of literary criticism (and I recall, it ended up being just over 12,000 words biography in the end).
Forsyth was delightful to me and provided several special Introductions to some of my later work, including Snipers (with Richard Brown), Dennis Wheatley - Churchill's Storyteller and VE Day - A Day to Remember (with Allan Richards).
My second and final book for Robson was The Kray Brothers - The Image Shattered (not the James Herbert book!), which I was very proud of. It is, to this day, one of the most accurate books about the Krays and its most significant point was the fact that Ronnie fired two guns in the Blind Beggar when killing George Cornell.
Note: An interesting point here is: proof copies of my two Robson books exist, the Forsyth one has a slightly longer interview with the author at the back, while the Kray one has incomplete text, because I was still clearing text through official sources. Good luck in finding proofs of either!
My third book was, at last, James Herbert - Devil in the Dark, and started a ten year publishing relationship with John Blake. Herbert approved the text and the book was issued as a limited leather bound edition (designed by me in two different red leather bindings, and based upon the cover of Jonathan Harker's diary in the first Hammer Horror Dracula movie), and two revised paperbacks. It remains a fan favourite and a book I am immensely proud of. Herbert bought 50 copies to give away to family and friends, and always told me that it should have been published by his own publisher Macmillan.
So through a critical mass of interviews/meetings with two top authors, and a fascination with why people celebrated the Kray Brothers, I moved from reporter and reviewer, to research journalist, historian and biographer.