Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Jonah” as Want to Read:
The Jonah
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Jonah

3.48  ·  Rating Details ·  1,322 Ratings  ·  32 Reviews
The shadow of the past was always with him. But he never knew what it was, or when it would strike next. Sent to a small coastal town to investigate drug smuggling, Kelso stumbles on a dangerous organisation and suddenly more than just his life is at stake. It's his past, his future, his sanity. Through torture and drugs he discovers the terrifying secret of The Jonah. And ...more
ebook, 304 pages
Published May 1st 2011 by Pan Publishing (first published 1981)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Jonah, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Jonah

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,053)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Basically, I have the same complaints and same praise that I have for most James Herbert books. The overly detailed and gratuitous sex scenes just had me rolling my eyes and rushing through the words as fast as I possibly could. Not quite as bad, but also useless and jarring is the switch to random people's viewpoints during an event. I don't much care what some random old man is pondering as he's about to die, I mean, if I wanted to read that, I would have read an introspective book about life ...more
May 05, 2009 Dreadlocksmile rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First published back in 1981, ‘The Jonah’ was Herbert’s eighth novel to be published. Moving slightly away from his previous splatterpunk and down right gritty horror subject matters, this well written and intriguing tale delivers a well balanced mixture between a thriller and a horror.

Set in a quiet coastal town, Detective Jim Kelso (a typical Herbert style anti-hero) is placed on an assignment to discover the reason behind how a good honest local family came into contact with the drug LSD, tha
Emma Carrig
Very slow, didn't have the underlying tension that I'm used to from Herbert, was hoping for a climactic ending, that just didn't "come", hurts to give the rating, but I have to be honest :/
Brian Taylor
This isn't one of Mr. Herbert's best books. It's slow. Halfway through the book next to nothing significant had happened. It's really just a bland thriller. Not much else to say. Only fans of the author should give it a go.
David Roberts
Mar 14, 2014 David Roberts rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am reviewing the supernatural thriller The Jonah by James Herbert which is a very good novel which I bought from a car boot sale. This novel was originally published in 1981 and this book was republished in 1988 presumably because James had achieved more success as an author. He is the most successful British horror author and is probably most famous for his novels The Spear & The Fog. The plot to this book starts in 1950 when the key character is a new born baby a few hours old that has b ...more
David Proffitt
Apr 03, 2016 David Proffitt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
James Herbert has been a permanent feature of the bestsellers lists since “The rats” was first published in 1974. Often considered, mainly by those who haven’t read his books, to be a horror writer, his books and actually generally thrillers, all-be-it often with a supernatural twist. In facrt, his most famous series – Rats, Lair and Domain – are closer to science fiction.

“The Jonah” is a detective story with a touch of the supernatural. Jim Kelso is a detective with the Drugs Squad in London.
This was good but not one of his best. It failed to have the sense of sustained horror bubbling beneath the surface that is usually a presence in Herbert's horror books. The horror aspect doesn't really appear until it's too late to make much of an impact. It's a quick, easy read but there are other Herbert books I would pick up again before this one.
Feb 21, 2015 Trisha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2008
Jim Kelso is niet zoals andere mensen en hij weet het. Hoewel hij uitblinkt in zijn werk als politieman en met niemand ruzie maakt, weigeren toch bijna alle collega's om met hem samen te werken. Want wie te dicht bij hem in de buurt komt vergaat het slecht. Kelso brengt onheil!
Een rustig Engels kustplaatsje wordt plotseling opgeschrikt door een aantal gruwelijke gebeurtenissen. Een heel gezin wordt de dood ingesleurd. Een vliegtuig stort met donderend geweld in zee. Afschuw en angst maken de dor
May 07, 2012 Sarah rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
for one thing, the book was slow – it took forever to get exciting. But most maddening was the character of Ellie. She was supposed to be a police officer, but she was a complete and total wimp, constantly breaking into tears and having to be comforted by the hero. She was completely unbelievable as an officer of the law, and completely unprofessional as well – it is ridiculous that she would not call in the cavalry as soon as Kelso was kidnapped. She doesn't even wait to see if he's okay before ...more
Oct 28, 2007 Henrik rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those wanting a thrill while travelling
Shelves: horror, thriller
Although an entertaining read, this thriller wasn't as satisfying as I'd hoped.


My main problem with the story is the climatic ending. After a straight narrative, competently plot driven staying with the main characters, Herbert breaks the general style with an interlude of scenes where we all of a sudden see what happens to other persons in the local. Although supposed to add to the climatic sea storm breaking in over the area, it was to me an annoying break from what was real
Michael Woods
I've read quote a few of James Herbert's book, and they seem to fit into two camps: stories like "The Fog", "The Rats" and "Creed" are consistent great horror stories. Then there are those books that feel like two books glued together. "The Spear", "Sepulchre" and "The Jonah". There's some great moments, but it does feel like an average thriller attached to a great horror ending from a different book.
Kib Chan
Nov 26, 2015 Kib Chan rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
finish it in 2 days and i think it's deserved one star voting. dumb climax - at a few pages at the ends :P his other books are better than this one.
Dec 29, 2013 Liz rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I am a huge fan of James Herbert and this is the only work of his I have read and can honestly say was a disappointment. It was extremely slow and often almost painful to continue. A book that normally takes me a few days to read took weeks. I can not usually put a book down but this one I found I always seemed to have 100 things to do instead of picking up the book. In the end it was magically descriptive and the reader felt as though Herbert's words came alive and played out in front of the ey ...more
Wesley Winegarden
Maybe this book just didn't age well or maybe I just wasn't in the right frame of mind whilst reading it or maybe I just expect more from James Herbert. For me however, this book felt like I was reading the script for a 1980s police film. It had all the elements; a cop who has a cloud of bad luck hanging over his head is sent to a small town to get him out of the way. There he is reluctantly partnered with a woman detective. Within 50 pages of meeting they fall in love etc etc.

The Jonah just fe
Rachael Dixon
Mar 04, 2015 Rachael Dixon rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
This could be described as crime fiction with supernatural elements, and although the supernatural aspect was very predictable it was still enjoyable.

I liked Jim Kelso's character, he was multi-layered, and Ellie worked well with him.

Overall a quick, entertaining read.
Christoph Segers
Jan 29, 2014 Christoph Segers rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
Te veel politieroman, te weinig horror. Zeker niet zijn beste.
May 18, 2013 Geoff rated it really liked it
Enjoying the book quite a bit so far, but it needs to be said that Herbert's ideas about LSD are out-of-date. According to members of the UK government's Science Select Committee a few years ago, there are no recorded deaths from LSD, it is non-addictive, you can't overdose on it, and stories of people believing they can fly and jumping through windows are limited to only one or two cases in the 1960s.
Travis Nacke
Oct 01, 2015 Travis Nacke rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book had too much description. The story was also very slow. I didn't really like anything about this book.
Jun 28, 2013 Dark-Draco rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
Well, finsished this over the weekend and have to say I was a bit dissappointed. It was good, but I expect so much more from a James Herbert novel that I really missed the big scare!! It was more like a police procedural, with hints of horror that was a little bit too obvious for me. But now I've had my moan, I can say that that I did enjoy the read and am glad that I picked it up.
Mar 17, 2014 Dilys rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Not one of James Herbert,s best novels but still a novel full of suspense.
Apr 20, 2014 Rachel rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: irritating, stupid
I did not enjoy this at all. Cardboard cutout characters, most of them Too Dumb To Live, a silly supernatural plot that seemed to be thrown in just for the heck of it, and a plot that moved so incredibly slowly that it took a great effort for me to even finish the book. Definitely not one of James Herbert's good ones.
Gail Dickens
I enjoyed this book but found it less than a horror and more of a crime book with a twist at the end.
He's written better.
Apr 28, 2012 Nat rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone that likes a horror!
Shelves: horror
I read this as a 14 year old school girl, and the fact the story remains as scary to me today, some 25+ years later is testament to James Herbert's fantastic imagination! Despite scaring the absolute cr*p out of me this remains one of my favourite books ever! Read it!
Dec 22, 2015 Tanya rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was a huge James Herbert fan in the late 80's early 90's. Still have the books so must put them on my re read list.
Don Woods
Oct 30, 2012 Don Woods rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another brilliant James Herbert masterpiece. This guy needs more than the five stars allowed.!
Another great book written by an author with a warped sense of the reality. Spooky.
Hated the ending. Almost seemed unrelated to the remainder of the story.
Mar 29, 2011 Deanne rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
Very quick read, enjoyed the fast paced story.
Brian Deegan
Mar 26, 2014 Brian Deegan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cheap-books

May 29, 2012 Leigh rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Not one of his best
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 68 69 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Assassin
  • The Chalice: A Glastonbury Ghost Story
  • The Influence
  • Funland
  • Ritual
  • Nailed by the Heart
  • Midnight's Lair
  • Possession
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 about James Herbert...

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »