Welcome back everyone! Told you it was a week of blog tours! Welcome to my stop on the Random Things Tours blog tour for The Wise Friend by Ramsey Campbell!
Patrick Torrington’s aunt Thelma was a successful artist whose late work turned towards the occult. While staying with her in his teens he found evidence that she used to visit magical sites. As an adult he discovers her journal of her explorations,and his teenage son Roy becomes fascinated too. His experiences at the sites scare Patrick away from them, but Roy carries on the search, together with his new girlfriend. Can Patrick convince his son that his increasingly terrible suspicions are real, or will what they’ve helped to rouse take a new hold on the world?
Did you ever see something out of the corner of your eye, go to look at it and suddenly it was gone? Ever get it in the dark while reading in the dark and suddenly something moves and it’s gone again when you look? This book is that, but for a whole book.
Nothing is more unsettling than a feeling that a place, a person or even a patch of forest is not what it looks like on the surface. Ramsey Campbell has captured this right down to the chilling shivers you get when something occasionally will stop you in your tracks.
Something I really enjoyed both in this book and the last book I read by the author is how important family is to this story. Yes there is some weird supernatural stuff happening her because our main character, Patrick, is chasing his aunts sites of occult power that inspired her more surreal paintings, but never once do we not see the terror set against a family interaction. Whether Patrick himself is thinking about memories of his aunt Thelma and how she was nurtured his interest in books and learning or it’s Patrick calling his son again to check what he is doing and is he doing it alone. I think horror can miss the important messages about families sometimes, especially in movies, but I have yet to see it here.
I also have to appreciate the references to Leonora Carrington, an artist I loved when I was an art college student myself. While I do love to read horror/mystery stories about painters or artists of any kind, this was a nice visual reference to imagine Thelma’s art so that was a massive bonus.
Thank you as always to Anne for having me on the tour, and to Flame Tree Press! And thank you to both for a copy of this book in exchange for a review!
The Wise Friend is available now!
The Oxford Companion to English Literature describes Ramsey Campbell as “Britain’s most respected living horror writer”. He has been given more awards than any other writer in the field, including the Grand Master Award of the World Horror Convention, the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Horror Writers Association,the Living Legend Award of the International Horror Guild and the World Fantasy Lifetime Achievement Award.