'He was a one off' Peter James on James Herbert

Peter James Credit: Peter James

Best-selling author Peter James has paid tribute to fellow Sussex writer James Herbert, who died yesterday at the age of 69.

Herbert, who's first novel was horror classic The Rats, published in 1974, wrote 23 novels, selling 54 million copies worldwide.

Peter James said: "Jim was a one-off, a true original who took the horror novel out of gothic castles and placed it in the scariest of modern urban and rural settings. He had a formidable intellect, and was huge fun to be around.

"In life you find you have 'fair weather' friends and 'foul weather' friends. It is the former who desert you for the slightest reason and the latter who remain your friend though thick and thin. Jim was the best foul weather friend I could have had.

"He stuck with me through some of the most troubled times in my life, and way back in the 1990s, when I became deeply despondent about my writing career, and was on the verge of chucking it in and just focusing on film making, he was the one person who truly believed in me.

"He encouraged me and ultimately was responsible for helping me make the move to his own publishers, Macmillan, who turned my career around. I owe him so much and I will miss him terribly. RIP Jimbo, you were a giant of a human being."

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Tributes to best-selling author

Best-selling horror author James Herbert, "one of the giants of popular fiction", has died in Sussex aged 69, his publisher announced.