*4 out of 5*
I’d heard his name, but never read Ramsey Campbell prior to The Wide Friend. This unique and intriguing novel caught my interest enough that I will continue picking up Campbell books along my journeys.
This story felt less like horror and more like mystery, for me. And I’m fine with that. It relies heavily on drama, not scares, to move the plot along. It’s a bit of a slow-burn, and yet I read through it rather quickly. I didn’t have too much issue going from chapter to chapter without losing interest, even if there was little excitement or action along the way.
I’d say my main complaint was founded in the characters. I can’t tell you how many times I wanted to smack one of them upside the head. These people interact so poorly with one another, it was a bit off-putting throughout.
Campbell’s narrative style here (and maybe elsewhere, I’m not sure yet) is a bit odd, but I also found it attractive. The lack of grammar and pausing made the narration come to life a bit more. At times it was problematic – like when I’d second guess which character was saying what – but I otherwise enjoyed the flow of his writing.
The Wise Friend was captivating, even without the scares a horror fans may expect from this title. I have several other Campbell books on the shelf, but they’ll be moved ahead of the line now that I know I like his style.