cover image The Searching Dead

The Searching Dead

Ramsey Campbell. Flame Tree, $24.95 (256p) ISBN 978-1-78758-558-4

World Fantasy Life Achievement Award winner Campbell’s the Three Births of Daoloth series makes its U.S. debut with this spine-tingling tale set in 1950s Liverpool. As teenager Dominic Sheldrake begins his year at a new Catholic high school, he hears rumors from his eccentric neighbor, Mrs. Norris, about a man who can commune with the dead. Believing this kind of spiritualism to be heresy, Dominic is startled to learn that his new teacher, Mr. Noble, is the medium Mrs. Norris described. Together with his two friends, Jim and Bobby (short for Roberta), Dominic observes Mr. Noble’s increasingly erratic behavior as he searches for proof of his abilities. After uncovering Mr. Noble’s journal, which details his twisted activities, Dominic is pulled deeper into a strange and terrifying world of death and the occult. Campbell’s nuanced prose blends mystery with eldritch terror and balances the dark moments with a wry sense of humor. Period details of a post-WWII Britain give the story an intimate sense of place. This is Campbell at the height of his powers, proving once again that he is a master of the genre. Agent: John Jarrold, the John Jarrold Literary Agency. (Feb.)