The Dark by James Herbert
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The Dark

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  6,009 ratings  ·  201 reviews
It came like a malignant shadow with seductive promises of power. And somewhere in the night, a small girl smiled as her mother burned. Asylum inmates slaughtered their attendants. In slimy tunnels, once-human creatures gathered. Madness raged as the lights began to fade and humanity was attacked by an ancient, unstoppable evil.
Paperback, 439 pages
Published April 1st 1999 by Pan Macmillan (first published 1980)
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Average rating 3.85  · 
Rating details
 ·  6,009 ratings  ·  201 reviews


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Bandit
Jul 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
This was quite possible one of Herbert's best books, the one that really showcased what he was capable of. It reminded me of The Fog with the way he wrote some of the epic horror scenes, sheer awe ispiring macabre, but with this book there were many more such scenes. Startingout with a terrific opening scene, armed with the original premise of evil as a tangible psychic force, the story takes the readers on a really dark (pun intended) scary journey. It did get a tad slow in parts and the climax ...more
Randolph
It's pure candy. We know it's not good for us but we crave it anyway. This book is pure horror candy. Monsters and zombies. Mediums and ghosts. A post apocalyptic world. A cliffhanger at the end of every chapter like the old penny dreadfuls and the deus ex machina riding in the back seat to keep it all going. Herbert is a master at gore and he lays it on thick here along with plenty of unnatural sex acts.

In the end it was like fudge, the first bite is great, the second and third just okay, and
...more
Leo .
Oct 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
The dark and the fog are very similar. A fog turns everybody crazy as does the dark. I think the fog is a better book but they are both worth a read.
Andrew
Mar 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
I have nothing but praise for James Herbert and nothing but sadness at his passing. He was an author who did seemed to be able to reinvent himself and his style and still stay quintessentially British. Now in the case of horror - its the fact the characters, places and events all remind me of the world around me (or at least of the 80s when I was growing up) rather than just another location a blockbuster story uses to destroy as a bit of time filler (come on we have all seen those movies who to ...more
Lisa
Feb 18, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: top-author, audio
I'm disappointed as I originally had this as a 4 star book (first read about 20 years ago) but I didn't enjoy it much this time around :(

What I like about James Herbert is that he has some excellent ideas and he can really tell a good story.
Elements of that are present in this book but I found the story very problematic in terms of believe-ability and delivery.
I don't understand the main character's motivation - he was very contradictory and quite tiresome!
I had to speed read parts because I was
...more
Jarek "the Mistborn" Dąbrowski
Jun 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2017
Really good read. Great premise and characters. Got me scared a couple of Times real good plus one nasty nightmare:D Nice take on zombies. Recommend it to fans of the genre. For me 5 stars.
Don
Mar 19, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of H.P. Lovecraft, Clive Barker, Stephen King
Recommended to Don by: Ada
Shelves: horror
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
James Adams
Dec 24, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: vintage-horror
A good, solid read, with a few of Herbert's trademark tableaux of grue. The characterization is good, the pseudoscience enjoyably pulpy (we're talking '50's b-movie here), and the tension palpable. The ending is disappointing and pat, but other than the last ten pages, a good read.

Note: The gender politics are odd, as this is firmly a book of it's time, but it never quite indulges the sexism that was prevalent in splatterpunk a few years later. However, there are a few scenes of gore that are st
...more
Lel
Jun 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
This has to be one of the creepiest books I've read. The book starts with a mass suicide/murder of a group of people in house. In true Herbert style this is explained in all its brutal, sadistic glory. The story goes on to be basically about the battle between good and evil that all people face, just with a more paranormal scary twist.
The idea in the book as good and evil being an energy force that can be controlled is an interesting one that raises many questions as you progress through the boo
...more
Jenn Green
Jul 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Well Damn, where do I even begin?!? This Author was recommended to me by another Fabulous Author Mr. Tim O'Rourke & I owe him a huge thank you for that!! This book was non-stop chills, thrills & action with more than one moment of just pure terror right from the start. I was gripping my Kindle wanting desperately to read on but afraid to at the same time, scared of what was to come. It was horrific bliss & I loved to fear every second of it!! I never saw the end coming!!! I look foward to readin ...more
Benjamin Stahl
Now see here, you stupid old prick. I think I’ve read enough James Herbert to have a valid opinion. As I sip this wine and battle the demons in my head that insist on believing my girlfriend is an enemy, I wrack my brain regarding this book and its required review. Like shit, it’s the same as all James Herbert’s trite but readable junk. The Dark is basically a better version of The Fog. Same fucking thing. An intangible substance renders people violently insane. Interspersed amongst a boring nar ...more
Andrew
Apr 08, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, fiction
James Herbert's The Dark is a creepy horror novel that is unfortunately mired by a lackluster ending. The novel contains some truly creepy scenes and setpieces. The entire novel builds up the air of desolation and makes the reader feel that there will be no end to the problem in the book, what makes the ending feel cheap is that the problem is resolved within a mere few pages. Which is a shame since the author had spent the rest of the novel building and building.

Overall I liked the novel even
...more
Don Woods
Oct 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
An absolutely BRILLIANT book ! What a story ! And what a twist ! Completely took me by surprise! Herbert at his best here !!
Rae Louise
May 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
*May contain spoilers*

Since discovering this in my mum's horror collection at around the age of twelve, it holds a darkly dear place in my heart. It was an ancient copy handed down by my grandma; half of the pages were loose and it was discoloured with age. I eventually upgraded to my own copy and recently re-read it for the dozenth time. It starts off pretty tame for Herbert, although I didn't realise this as a young novice reader all those years ago. It was the first book of his that I read, a
...more
Jennifer
Feb 27, 2011 rated it liked it
This book was really creepy, heart stopping and mind boggling. Throughout the book from beginning to end, it's filled with gore, bloodshed and massacre. It brings the controvsial "debate" in whether whatever causes the bloodshed is based on scientific meaning or some sort of unknown forces that are trying to get rid of the human or at least the physical part of mankind.

To be honest at the beginning I thought the book was really good. I guess you can say I just lost interest and just finished rea
...more
Alan Toner
Jun 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The Dark is my fourth favourite James Herbert novel after The Rats, Lair and The Fog. Very similar to The Fog (evil force sends people barmy and evil), but also rather different in its own way, The Dark is the ideal book with which to curl up on a cold winter's evening. For me, the wonderful highlight of my 1980 reading pursuits!

Further to my previous comments about The Dark, I don't know what happened after that book, but all his subsequent titles didn't seem to have quite the same heart-stoppi
...more
J.F. Penn
Nov 30, 2012 rated it liked it
I'm loving the digital re-releases of Herbert's books and they mainly stand the test of time. This is about a horrific mass murder suicide that seems to bind the evil energy of the participants which then starts to spread in the dark, taking more lives and building into a presence of pure evil. This is definitely horror with a number of scenes I had to skip over because I was reading before bed, but it's certainly a page turner with massive body count.
Rebecca McNutt
James Herbert's books are some of the creepiest I've ever read, and not because of the dangerous entity featured but because of the way the society within the story reacts to the threat. The Dark is no exception and Herbert exceeds at psychological terror and sinister elements.
Teressa Michie
Aug 19, 2010 rated it it was amazing
One of the freakiest books i have ever read. I really couldnt put it down because i was scared out my wits. Read in record time as i couldnt turn my light off before i knew how it ended. Must re-read to see if it has the same effect.
Amanda Lyons
I'm not a fan of giving up on a book, but I've been dragging with this one and I don't know that I want to keep reading. I'm almost 2/3 of the way in and it just really doesn't have my interest. No judgement on fans of the book. Just not my cup of tea.
Ria
Jun 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A gripping novel that will chill you to the bone.
When Bishop goes to Beechwood house to investigate a supposed haunting he gets flashbacks to horrific killings that happened a year earlier.
After leaving he is met by Jessica Kulek who requests he give an audience to her father, Jacob who tells Bishop that a series of bizarre killings are taking place in the neighbourhood, mindless, senseless killings undercover of darkness like the people involved have been infected with a madness that strikes as
...more
Lisa *OwlBeSatReading*
What's that odd smell? It keeps following me. Is it the smelly people on the bus on my way to and from work? But, I can smell it sat at my desk at work. And at home. On the sofa. In bed. Is it me?! I've just finished this vulgar little Herbert romp. Dirty little book, 35 year old yellowing pages, complete with mildew. THATS the smell!! The Dark has been tickling my senses all along. How gross. How fitting. :)
Kirsty
Jan 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Well...I finished this book in about 8 hours! i was engrossed! Couldnt put it down. I really enjoyed it although i dont think the ending was as perfectly written as the rest of the book. Would certainly recommend it to someone...infact my aunty has already pinched it!
Meghann
Oct 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book is about an evil that is started from one man and his followers through their death. They start this evil called the dark and as it spreads it is easy to see that everyone has the dark inside of them, it just needs a little coaxing to come out. It begins in a house, then a street, and then it starts to spread even further through London. It seems that only one person can end this evil and with the help of others the hard and dangerous work begins. As murders and suicides begin to add u ...more
James Parsons
Mar 11, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: horror
Alright so I've read maybe three or four or more books from Herbert now. I see his impact on horror fiction from the late 70's and through the 80's until now. I decided to read this one next as it seemed like quite a big deep horror read, one of his which really went all out with the shocks and terror as far as I could tell from some reviews and more.
Did it live up to what I expected? Possibly not, but that does not mean that it is a bad book at all. It is a good read, and considering when it w
...more
Mercedes
Aug 22, 2015 rated it did not like it
I decided to finally give up on this book I've been trying to finish it for over a year and it's just not pulling me in like you want books to. Also some of the vivid imagery is very very disturbing and I did not like that. Don't get me wrong I do like some horror books, but this one just was too gruesome in certain scenes in the book. I'm sure other people who like those types of books they will love it.
Thierry
Feb 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing
It came like a malignant shadow with seductive promises of power. And somewhere in the night...a small girl smiled as her mother burned...Asylum inmates slaughtered their attendants...in slimy tunnels once-human creatures gathered. Madness raged as the lights began to fade and humanity was attacked by an ancient, unstoppable evil.
Laura
Feb 13, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2015
It was so good... til it wasnt. The ending was so flat and boring. It was unexplained and tidy. Too tidy. The reader shouldnt always get a happy ever after.

Would have been a five but the ending was THAT dissapointing...
Chris The Story Reading Ape
Dec 31, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-reviewed
James Herbert is a truly scary writer with an imagination that should drive him insane, but instead, it lets him present stories like this to make even the most 'macho' man check under his bed before turning out the light....
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1,649 followers
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
...more

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