Nick Dismas
Created by James Herbert

You think you got problems?

NICK DISMAS, the one-eyed hunchback private eye hero of British horror writer James Herbert's disturbing Others (1999), is not your normal plucky Tiny Tim kinda person who rises above their physical challenges to, by gosh, save the day. Uh-uh. No way.

Nope, Nick is refreshingly full of bad habits, and a really bad attitude attitude to boot. And why shouldn't he be? It's not enough that he has to struggle with his own twisted and deformed body, and a troubling sense of self, or that he has to do it in a society that praises conformity and normality above all else, and lashes out at those that don't quite make the grade.Nope, Nick's problems go a lot deeper than that.

The book kicks off in Hell, where a former Hollywood star is given one last shot at redemption, and then moves on to a different kind of Hell: the mean streets of contemporary Brighton, where Nick is hired to track down a missing child whose very existence seems to be in doubt.

This is a great offbeat book, that pushes the boundaries of both detective fiction and the supernatural, and offers a thoughtful, in-yer-face, disturbing and even creepy attack on exploitation and prejudice, bound to piss a few folks off, and make a few more squirm with the shock of recognition. GOOD!

And if anyone thinks Herbert went too far with this one, check out this actual reader's review from the literary think tank:

"Want to put obscene monstrous pictures into your mind?...Unfortunately (Herbert) uses his gift to tell a story of monsterously deformed human beings who are treated with cruelty. Why any reader would want to put such images into his/her mind (which is the equivalent of eating sewage) is anyone's guess...How terribly sad that an author with such possibility chose to depict monsters rather than to show us beauty. I will never read another James Herbert novel."

Now, who's the monster?


Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith. Thanks to Jan for the heads-up.

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