DARK COMPANIONS by Ramsey Campbell


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Campbell's novels, though erratic, show considerably more class than this collection of 21 stories, dating from 1967 on. Even the best piece here--""The Chimney,"" about a well-to-do boy with his own fireplace whose nightmares prefigure his father's death by fire--is padded out to a tedious length. And the occasional fresh appeal comes more from shadings than from horror--as in ""Mackintosh Willy,"" which features some effective boyhood details along with the clichÉ ghosting. Ghosts and ghouls predominate here, in fact: the vengeful ghost of a boy who was suffocated by a bag over his head; a corpse-woman (with horror-comic rotting flesh) who's harbored by an old scholar; the ghost of a man who gassed himself and now haunts the woman living in his old house; a scientist, fatally slashed, who sews himself together and wreaks vengeance; a doughy, single-bodied mass of ghouls that chases a woman who's working late in her office. . . . Low-level chills overall, predictable and hum-orless and occasionally quite crude.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1982
Publisher: Macmillan