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Thursday, August 30, 2018

Review: Thirteen Days by Sunset Beach

Thirteen Days by Sunset Beach Thirteen Days by Sunset Beach by Ramsey Campbell
My rating: 0 of 5 stars

Review: THIRTEEN DAYS BY SUNSET BEACH by Ramsey Campbell

A wonderful new novel from a modern horror master, THIRTEEN DAYS BY SUNSET BEACH is a masterpiece of characterization, and deeply emotional. The horror is subtly approached, filtered through the viewpoint of senior citizen Ray, a man who knows full well real-life horror is approaching all too soon. So he sets high hopes on this extended family vacation on the Greek Isles.

Ray, his wife Sandra, adult offspring Doug and Natalie, their partners, and three grandchildren gather on the should-be sun-drenched island of Vasilema, expecting the usual Greek vacation: sight-seeing, tourist-catering restaurants, guided tours, and so forth. Instead, they find cloudy skies, no mirrors, strange disturbing nightmares, and evasive, secretive, locals.

I loved the wry humour and the subtlety of the horror. Mr. Campbell can stage a story with several characters of importance plus a wide cast of background characters, and make them all vibrant. I found in myself much empathy for Ray, Sandra, their son Doug and his wife Pris, and the three grandchildren, ages16, 15, and 5. Not so much for prissy daughter Natalie and second husband Julian. Julian is really a prize (a booby prize). A controlling Narcissist stacked on a deeply unconscious inferiority complex, he finds his purpose in playing Emperor of the Universe, controlling every one's lives and snarking when others inevitably fail to match his impossible standards. Mr. Campbell plays out Julian against the perfect background of his father-in-law Ray and brother-in-law Doug, both men of sterling integrity, high intellect, and good sense. A substantial portion of my delight in this special novel stemmed from watching this combination play out.

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