While waiting for a couple of books to arrive I decided to look through my pile of ‘to be read’ books for something to engage my time. I’m waiting on Volume twelve of Theodore Sturgeon’s complete short stories, a collection of shorts from Harlan Ellison and the last omnibus of Doc Savage (winging its way from America with free postage so that’ll take forever) with his final adventure, Up From The Earth’s Centre. I didn’t find anything I wanted to read, or anything that captured my interest. Everything seemed to be four hundred pages or above. I’m growing averse to big thick books; they don’t entice me at all. A novel of a couple of hundred pages is just fine for me at the moment.

A couple of days later while sorting out some books that could go onto the bookmooch list I came across a boxed set of James Herbert novels. I remember buying it for £9.99; five books so that works out at a couple of pounds each. There was only one or two that I had read before.

I used to read a lot of James Herbert; I either bought his books new, second hand or borrowed from the library. He’s a good solid writer that has produced a quality laden body of work over the years. I briefly checked through them before deciding on ‘The Haunting’ and I’m now about a third of the way through it – mainly due to the short chapters he has with this book. After reading one I look at the page count of the next chapter and think, ‘yeah, I can read one more.’

There may be a little nostalgia about choosing this book and James Herbert as, even though his books are horror novels, I know it’s not likely I’ll come across a lot of swearing, sex and mindless violence. It’ll be just a good story well told. Not that I’ve got anything against swearing sex and mindless violence; that can be a good night out. Sometimes they can be out of place in fiction, sometimes they fit perfectly and sometimes they are required. But it’s good to read something that is story and character based, well paced and from a master writer.

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