Friday, September 21, 2018

Review: Thirteen Days by Sunset Beach - by Ramsey Campbell

4 of 5 Stars     Review copy

No one writes horror like Ramsey Campbell as evidenced by numerous accolades over the years, including a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Horror Writers Association and the Living Legend Award of the International Horror Guild.

Thirteen Days by Sunset Beach is the third book I've read from new publisher  Flame Tree Press and based on what I've seen so far they will be a welcome addition to the small press marketplace.

In this book, Ray & Sandra, their children, and grandchildren are on a shared vacation to the Greek island of Vasilema and the mysterious Sunset Beach.  While much of the story deals with typical family squabbles (three generations on a family trip, what could go wrong?), there is a faint undercurrent of horror.

Campbell is a master at keeping a story's secrets close to the vest, allowing readers to uncover the truth at their own pace.  Much of the horror I read is deliberate in its approach, the equivalent of being beaten repeatedly with a giant crowbar.  In Thirteen Days by Sunset Beach, the approach is so subtle you barely realize the horror is right there in the room with you.

If there is anything which bothered me about this book it was the author's frequent use of the phrase "Sandra and the teenagers."  Campbell said this so many times I began to think of them as a girl band from the sixties.  Just once maybe they could have been "The teenagers and Sandra."

Despite my nitpicking, I found Thirteen Days by Sunset Beach to be immensely enjoyable and is definitely a story I can recommend.

Available in various formats from Flame Tree Press.

From the author's bio - Ramsey Campbell is an English horror fiction writer, editor and critic who has been writing for well over fifty years.  Since he first came to prominence in the mid-1960s, critics have cited Campbell as one of the leading writers in his field.

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