Review: Thirteen Days by Sunset Beach by Ramsey Campbell

Thirteen Days by Sunset Beach by Ramsey Campbell
Flame Tree Press (September 6, 2018)
288 pages; $24.95 hardcover; $14.95 paperback
Reviewed by Frank Michaels Errington

No one writes horror like Ramsey Campbell, as evidenced by numerous accolades over the years, including a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Horror Writers Association, and the Living Legend Award of the International Horror Guild.

Thirteen Days by Sunset Beach is the latest book I’ve read from new publisher Flame Tree Press, and based on what I’ve seen so far, they will be a welcome addition to the marketplace.

In this book, Ray and Sandra, their children, and their grandchildren are on a shared vacation to the Greek island of Vasilema and the mysterious Sunset Beach. While much of the story deals with typical family squabbles (three generations on a family trip, what could go wrong?), there is a faint undercurrent of horror.

Campbell is a master at keeping a story’s secrets close to the vest, allowing readers to uncover the truth at their own pace. Much of the horror I read is deliberate in its approach, the equivalent of being beaten repeatedly with a giant crowbar. In Thirteen Days by Sunset Beach, the approach is so subtle you barely realize the horror is right there in the room with you.

If there is anything which bothered me about this book it was the author’s frequent use of the phrase “Sandra and the teenagers.” Campbell said this so many times I began to think of them as a girl band from the sixties. Just once maybe they could have been “The teenagers and Sandra.”

Despite my nitpicking, I found Thirteen Days by Sunset Beach to be immensely enjoyable and a story I can definitely recommend.

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