THE SEARCHING DEAD
By Ramsey Campbell
Published by Flame Tree Press
Available February 2021
In the past year, I’ve discovered Ramsey Campbell and his quietly executed brand of horror. Of the four or five titles of his I’ve read so far, each has left me intrigued and interested, but never horrified. In fact, I think the trolley scene in today’s book – The Searching Dead – is the most grotesque thing I’ve read from him so far. Generally, my experience has been that a mysterious and fantastical atmosphere subtly shines the way for Campbell’s stories. Though this does mean some slow sections from time to time, I’ve walked away from every one of his books pleased.
The Searching Dead is no exception; you know, it might even be my favorite yet. The fact that this book is just the first in a trilogy to reissue this year is very exciting. It’s part coming-of-age, part religiously fanatic, and part ghostly. The pieces are there – many of which are still waiting in shadow for now – to provide an immersive experience. Like with The Wise Friend, I found myself driven by my curiosity to uncover more secrets of the nemesis and what they’ve got hidden up their sleeve. Count me in for the rest of this trilogy (especially after those final pages)!
Highlights: Strong cast … mysterious enemy … the ending … continues in two more titles
Shadows: A little slow at times where little seems to be happening
FFO: Slow-burning horror … horror driven by mystery and atmosphere
Takeaway: The Searching Dead is a curious and engaging read that promises to get darker in its sequels.
Would I read this author again? Yes