THE NAMELESS by Ramsey Campbell


Email this review


Again, as in The Parasite (1980), British horror-writer Campbell gives some stylish, contemporary gloss to an old occult standby (this time it's a Satanic cult) . . . but winds up with most of the genre clichÉs. In The Parasite, the movie-biz was the snazzy background. Here it's publishing--because heroine Barbara Waugh is a British literary agent, wheeling and dealing book auctions, playing den-mother to her writers. But widow Barbara has a clark shadow over her life: nine years ago her four-year-old daughter Angela was kidnapped, and when a disfigured body dressed in Angela's clothes was found, it was sort-of identified as Angela's corpse (some very contrived plotting here). Now, however, work-driven Barbara is getting weird phone calls from a voice that claims to be Angela--so Barbara starts searching for the missing child . . . who's in the power of a Satanic cult called ""The Nameless"" and will be initiated into the cult's worst practices when she reaches her 13th birthday! (The cult worships pain, is into disfigurement and murder, and teems with depersonalized sado-masochists.) Helping Barbara in her quest are: book-sale-hungry reporter Gerry Martin, who poses as a derelict (a frequent type of cult victim) so as to be taken in by the group; and writer-lover Ted, who joins Barbara in tracking the cult to its Scotland lair. But, unbeknownst to Barbara, Ted gets sucked into the cult: he's soon misleading her. And only after a detour to an American book-sale auction does the confrontation between Barbara and Angela finally arrive--with a standard, if professionally drawn-out, suspense climax. Largely familiar cult-fare, then, with a few unexplained Beastly manifestations and a few grisly spots (Gerry has her ankle and wrist tendons cut); but the book-agenting stuff is nicely handled, and occult-fans will find this a bit above the crude usual.

Pub Date: Oct. 30th, 1981
Publisher: Macmillan