12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 1 June 2004
...that's what he tells us anyway.
He was away from his own body when somebody murdered him. Who? I'm not going to tell you, that would be against the point.
James Herbert's latest book is like many of his more recent works- less focus on 'splat' horror, more focus on a thrilling and psychological journey into the bizarre. It starts a little too slowly for my liking, but once it gets itself going, it's fairly relentless, the peaks always higher that the troughs, always leaving you wanting more.
It's not as 'horror' as The Rats or The Fog, but I enjoyed it. It's written with JH's usual flowing prose, enough detail put in to give the flavour, enough left out to let your imagination fill in the gaps (something many authors seem unable to do of late, with every blade of grass and crack in the pavement described in the finest detail...).
If you like good stories, good horror stories, or good (if offbeat) thrillers, you'll like this. If you like James Herbert, you'll probably love it. I did.
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on 10 October 2004
This is the first book that I have read by James Herbert, attempting to escape the clutches of Stephen King.
Nobody true is the only book that kept my eyes glued to the pages, completely oblivious to the world around me. I was completely enthralled by the life of James True. The concept of living a life, outside the body, with no real substance, was utterly disturbing. I really began to feel for the character in his attempt to discover who murdered him whilst in his out of body experience. How do you protect the people you love when you cannot touch? The plot is full of twists that will leave you wondering the outcome right through to the very last page.
James Herbert is in a class of his own, making supernatural occurances become reality. It leaves you wondering what really does happen in death. This book really does make you feel extreme sympathy for James True in his lonely attempt to reveal the truth about his killer.
Read this book, as even people with extremely vivid imaginations will be shocked by the deeply disturbing events that are explored in this truly fantastic novel.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 7 April 2009
Being an avid Herbert reader of long ago, Nobody True was my first venture back into his individual style of horror.
Not wanting to be a spoiler, Nobody True once it gets going, is Herbert at his sickening, horrible yet astoundingly touching best. Not one other author that i have read has the unique ability to create sympathy for the most malevolent and putrid of characters.
This said, the reason 'Nobody True' recieves three stars from me involves the fact that Herbert includes pages of jargonistic babble to almost Stephen King like proportions in the early stages of the book which to me, is a fatal mistake. Had i not faith in Herbert's ability to write a stunning book admist this, I'd have most certainly put it back down again in the first few chapters. Overall, if you are a James Herbert fan, Nobody True is another complicated gore fest with an amazing plot line that is definately worth a read. However, if you're not used to Herbert's style I would recommend one of his other works first.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 30 August 2004
I remember walking into the college library last year when i was bored out of my face and noticing this book on the 'new titles' shelf. I read the back and the words ' I wasnt there when i died ' just made me throw the book open and read and read and read. Yes my friends thought id gone mad this book would be my new best friend for the next 3 days.
The book spends a long period explaining the last 30 years of the charactor's life, his experiences inside...and outside his body. Until his sudden murder outside his body. Jim true's life in the physical world is horrendously cut short, but he's left powerless and now only a bi-stander to the working system of the world. He uncover's things in his life that would of been impossible to guess, it makes you question your own life, what things are going on behind you back.
Herbert describes wonderfully the complete and utter sorrow of jim and his predicament, it makes you truely feel for the charactor and his unimaginable torment of being but not being. The book occationally describes out of body experiences in little detail, just a pause from the story you are being told from jim himself in attempt to explain the unexplainerble.
Jim, stuck in his predicament, seems to be drawn to this dark, evil charactor, one who's exploits influence jim to finally end the story in one amazingly well crafted ending. Id argue one of J.Herberts best. The book seriously leaves you thinking so much that after a couple of days you feel insane, insane but very satisfied with this terrific addition to Herberts outstanding work. Get it, or as i did, borrow it at least.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
While the story of a man who suddenly finds themselves a wandering ghost is not a particularly new one (see Douglas Adams' 'Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency' for a similar story, or indeed Herbert's own 'justice from beyond the grave' fantasy 'Fluke', which gets a very oblique reference here) the situation is a compelling one, and the quest to uncover the mystery of who killed hero James True makes this initially a gripping read. Unfortunately what let's this novel down is Herbert's uncharacteristically flabby prose, as he extends what should be a short sharp story into a bloated tale, with numerous instances of repeated information and several scenes that just seem to drag on for a few pages too long: Herbert might have been trying for a conversational style here (the novel is written all in first person) but it ultimately feels as though there's just too much padding going on. Another problem is the fact that True can't actually speak to any of the living characters in the novel results in some terribly clunky expositionary dialogue (for example two police detectives hold a pages long conversation regurgitating information at each other they are already aware of, just for the benefit of the reader and the silent True), and one of Herbert's big plot twists concerning the identity of the serial killer is lifted from one of his own previous novels ('Moon').
That's not to say it's all bad news: while over-written the basic situation is a compelling one, and there are plenty of instances of horror that ranks as nasty as any Herbert has ever produced, and somewhere in here is a solid central theme on issues of trust and deception, but as a novel it just feels in need of a good edit. So - not one of Herbert's best then, but neither a complete misfire: 'Nobody True' could perhaps best be summed up as a cheesy but generally enjoyable slice of lowbrow horror hokum.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 31 October 2006
It is so comforting to know that the talent is still there. After a few low points the last few books show JH is back. Wow what a story, gripped from start to finish and grabbed by total frustration at the main charecters inability to effect what he could see was absorbing. In a way I dont want to die now, i want to stay and watch the people i know and see if they are genuine or not. Still what then if you dont die and see what you did not want to see ???? - oh eternity wandering where - perhaps death is best after all.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 7 October 2003
I shivered with The Rats, peeked under the bed after The Fog, stuffed the duvet into my mouth during Lair. But Nobody True did nothing for me. The idea is a good one. But the standard of writing is not what I have come to expect from James Herbert whom, until now, I have held to be the best horror writer in the world - bar none. There are too many asterisked asides which serve only to interrupt the flow of the narrative. Good writing would have dealt with all of these 'explanations' within the body of the narrative.
I also feel that the subject was poorly researched. For instance, I was amused at how Mr True could walk through doors yet still hitch a lift in a car. What kept him from slipping through the seat, for goodness sake?
I may sound a bit cynical here, but I suspect this was an earlier effort that failed to find approval early on in James Herbert's writing career. Now that anything with his name on the cover is guaranteed to sell, did someone somewhere think they'd found an easy way to extract another book from the author? I sincerely hope I am wrong.
Come on James. Let's have another and show us that you can still do it!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 10 November 2004
On the one hand, "Nobody True" is a typical Herbert offering: a dark tale of the paranormal where nothing is quite how it seems. Where it differs is that its protagonist - and narrator - is powerless against the forces that threaten his family... because he is already dead, the victim of a psychopath who murdered him whilst his spirit was disconnected from his body! And now, seemingly, he has to endure the torture of a life in limbo, watching helplessly as his family are imperiled.
I liked the premise of this book. Much of the tension is generated from the desperation of James ("Jim") True, the spirit whose earthly body has been hacked to pieces in a rather unpleasant manner, as he tries to protect his wife and young daughter despite his inability to interact with the world he still feels a part of. The story's other characters each hide their own troubled past - among them Jim's mother, the controlling matriarch who has never forgiven the male sex for her husband's betrayal; Oliver Guinane, Jim's long-term best friend whose increasingly unpredictable behaviour could be the result of drugs or something far more personal; and Moker, the pathetic and disfigured killer whose troubled soul invites a reluctant sympathy.
Herbert paces the story well (although I did find his frequent use of footnotes a little irritating) and I liked the sensitivity with which the relationship between Jim and his family is recounted. As the story progresses, Jim develops a limited ability to interact with his environment. He learns truths about those he loves, which are by turn enlightening and devastating.
Unfortunately, I was disappointed by some unconvincing aspects of the story's resolution. The motive for Jim's killing, when we finally learn of it, seems disproportionate to the sheer savagery of the attack, and credibility is stretched further by his killer's insistence on a lengthy explanation (but then, in a tale of animated corpses and disembodied spirits, who's counting?!). It's a pity that the story's climax comes 60 pages from the end of the book, leading to a decrescendo which is both anticlimactic and a little contrived in its attempts to tie up the story threads.
In all, though, this is a worthy read; not quite as good as "Once" for the dark imagery but wholly original in its concept - and the study of relationships that transcend boundaries of consciousness is intriguing.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 15 February 2004
It is the mark of a good author who can hold my attention and make me reach for a book at every opportunity. Apart from the fact this was not yet available in paperback, I thoroughly enjoyed the story. The subtle twists and the sheer fear factor made this book well worth carrying around for a week or so. The footnotes did get a bit wearing at times, so did the affirmations of the subject's lack of feelings but none of this changed the fact that I put the book down at the end of the read feeling satisfied and happy I had spent the money.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 30 July 2004
An unputdownable excellent thriller I read in 4 days, whilst on holiday in Tunisia.
At the start of the book you're introduced to the main character and his background.To help set the necessary backdrop of the whole story.
A married man (who often has out of the body experiences) with a beautiful wife, young daughter and a successful business partnership.
Then the real story starts, when his life is violently cut short one night in his hotel room........
This amazing thriller, full of twists and about turns takes you on a journey inside the main characters mind and his desperate search to find out who his killer is and the network of deceptive revelations behind it.
Just when you think you've sussed it. You're proven to be completely wrong.
Humans can be power hungry, deceptive, untruthful and disloyal. They say "KEEP YOUR FRIENDS CLOSE, BUT YOUR ENEMIES CLOSER!"
Just when you think you know people then a spanner gets flung in the works.
A masterpiece of great courage, pride, love, sensitivity, anger, madness and utter despair.