Just Behind You, Ramsey Campbell

Just Behind YouReview by Paul Campbell.

Ramsey Campbell is the reason I joined the BFS and came to my first Fantasycon. My respect for his writing is not blinded, though: I thought his last collection from PS, Told by the Dead (2003), was very uneven – too many old, orphaned stories left out from previous collections weakened its impact.

Not so Just Behind You. I read far more short story collections than I do novels, but still of all the volumes I’ve read in the past year (be it single author or multi-writer anthologies) Campbell’s is by far the best. And the reason he’s the best living horror writer today is because he has the ability – unequalled by any other practitioner – to imbue his prose with a sense of foreboding and menace. On every single line. Of every single paragraph. On every single page. The story lines themselves are enough to haunt, but combined with his (in the strictest dictionary definition of the word) unique style causes the reader’s arms to run cold with gooseflesh.

As superb as this book is, it is notable for the absence of three recent tales, “The Decorations”, “Peep” and “The Long Way” – all selected for the annual Best New Horror anthology. Still, that only bodes well for the next collection.

Just Behind You, Ramsey Campbell, PS Publishing. 2009 £20 hb. £50 signed slipcased hb.