My Review of Ramsey Campbell’s Holes For Faces


Shortly after receiving this latest collection of Ramsey Campbell’s short stories I posted to twitter: “Reading Holes for Faces. When it comes to writers, I sometimes think there’s just Ramsey Campbell and then everyone else.” After finishing the work I am even more convinced.

Ramsey Campbell is, in a word, brilliant. Each and every story is a master class in how to write thoughtful, literary fiction within the horror genre. His command of the form, through a complete understanding of pacing and atmosphere sets him apart from most every  author who sits down before a keyboard and attempts to do the same.

The characters you find in this collection are all very real, vividly imagined and put on display. Campbell puts you inside their head with ease and you feel the weight of each situation as they play out slowly. The author’s many strengths come to the fore, and these are chops well earned. These are stories that are claustrophobic and menacing, but grounded in a realism that allows the terror to germinate and take root. They creep up on you, slowly and methodically, inviting you in to deeper and deeper shadow until you’re swallowed whole by the surreal madness that lies there in the bleak and all consuming darkness.

These stories, and the characters who populate them, will stay with you long after you’ve set the work aside. Trust me on that. Days later, I’m still mulling over Marsden’s fate in Passing Through Peacehaven. When I pass through our game room and eye Connor’s old Snakes & Ladders game, I swear, somewhere in the house, someone is whispering “peep”.

Campbell’s prose is both vivid and lyrical, filled with suspense and dark beauty. Take this passage, for instance:

“She saw their shriveled eyes glimmer eagerly and their toothless mouths gape with an identical infantile hunger. Their combined weight bowed the lowest branches while they extended arms like withered sticks to snatch the child.”

Holes For Faces is a must-read for Ramsey Campbell fans, collecting his best stories from this fledgling century we find ourselves in. And if you’ve not been introduced to Mr. Campbell yet, then I can think of no better place to start.


3 Responses to “My Review of Ramsey Campbell’s Holes For Faces”

  1. demonchaste Says:

    Bob, if ever I am published, I think that even if you give what I write a bad review, I would enjoy reading it! Been following you for just a second but have gained perspective by your written observations, love what you review, AND you like Robert Anton Wilson. And you have such an unusual first name, thanks ~bob smith

  2. […] HOLES FOR FACES by Ramsey Campbell — Read my review HERE. […]

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