Patrick Torrington had an aunt, Thelma, who was a noted artist. Her work turned quite dark and occult-like, and when the young Patrick visited and stayed with his aunt, he believed that she frequented some magical sites which served as fodder for her art. Now an adult, Patrick discovers Thelma’s journals and he takes his son, Roy, on a journey to explore the journals and locations that were important to Thelma. But Thelma’s suicide casts a pall over their exploration and when Roy gets too involved – along with his strange, new girlfriend – can Patrick convince his son that there’s danger in Thelma’s words, and that his new girlfriend might not be all that she appears?
Just to be up-front … I’ve been a fan of, and reading, Ramsey Campbell for decades. I requested this book specifically because I wanted to read this book by Campbell.
If you like your horror books to be ‘in your face’ horror, or to have blood and gore spattering everywhere, then Campbell is not for you. But if you like that constant sense of unease, the dread of knowing something isn’t quite right but not sure where it’s coming from, of letting a horror build slowly so that it completely permeates your thoughts as you read, then this is the book for you.
This book is quite suspenseful, but it is Campbell’s storytelling that really makes the difference. His prose style really sets a tone, draws the reader in, and finds ways to remind the reader that all is not well.
I liked this book a lot, but I recognize that not everyone likes horror, and of those who do, not everyone likes this kind of horror. But if you are ever thinking of checking out the genre, I recommend Ramsey Campbell.
Looking for a good book? The Wise Friend, by Ramsey Campbell, is a dark story told by a master of modern horror, that will likely have you shivering.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher and publicist, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
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The Wise Friend
author: Ramsey Campbell
publisher: Flame Tree Press
paperback, 288 pages