James Herbert, the influential author of The Rats and countless other horror novels, passed away on Wednesday, March 20. Crime writer Ian Rankin is amongst those who have paid tribute to the late author, who died at the age of 69, at his home in Sussex.

Posting on his Twitter feed, Rankin said “Sad news about James Herbert – as a teen, I scared myself silly reading him. He led me to King, Barker, others. RIP ...”

Neil Gaiman, himself a best-selling author and a friend of Herbert’s, spoke to Radio 5 Live last night, The Telegraph report. “Jim’s [sales] numbers were extraordinary and he was very grumpy that nobody noticed,” said Gaiman. “He’d point out that he had outsold Stephen King in the UK. He was a bestselling author which I think also meant that he felt he wasn’t getting the attention that he deserved. He wanted the things he wasn’t getting. He wanted critical acclaim and I don’t think he felt he ever got it even when some of his novels did get serious critical attention.” Another of Herbert’s friends, the guitarist Gordon Giltrap, also tweeted a message to say “Received some sad news ... that my good friend James Herbert has passed away. Am in no mood for music, that’s for sure. RIP Jim.”

Best known for London-based novel The Rats, Herbert published 23 novels in his lifetime and has sold over 54 million copies across the globe.

Ian Rankin
Ian Rankin: The crime writer paid tribute to the late James Herbert