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The Overnight

2.91 of 5 stars 2.91  ·  rating details  ·  265 ratings  ·  47 reviews
A bookstore can be a wonderful, welcoming place of both commerce and curiosity. That's the goal for Woody, an American recently transferred to England to run a branch of Texts. He wants a clean, orderly store and lots of sales to show his bosses when they arrive from the States for a pre-Christmas inspection. Not easy given the shop's location in a foggy strip mall.
And thi
Hardcover, 396 pages
Published April 1st 2005 by Tor Books (first published June 2004)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 536)
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Seizure Romero
I've taken dumps that were more frightening than this book.

I've worked in bookstores: new, used, independent and big-ass chain stores. You want scary? Write about the incompetence rife in Barnes & McNoble's management. I've been out of there for more than a decade & I still twitch sometimes late at night (and occasionally over daiquiris in the afternoon). The horror...

Hold me.
Jan 19, 2009 Keri rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: horror
I expected to adore this book, because I love bookstores and I love horror, so what could be better than combining them? As it turns out, what could be better is combining them and then actually writing a climax and ending that had anything at all to do with the previous foreshadowing and buildup.

To me, it seemed as if Campbell spent about two-thirds of the book preparing to tell a story, and then got bored and decided to just have some monsters eat everyone instead of actually telling that stor
James Everington
Ramsey Campbell is an author seemingly as prolific as he is influential – I'm a big fan, but I've still got a number of his books to read. Fortunately my wife got me four of his books newly reissued as paperbacks from PS Publishing for Christmas. The first I've read is The Overnight.

(Before we start, I’ll say that these paperbacks from PS Publishing are very good quality-wise – not something I often notice with paperbacks, but these are nice books to read, seemingly on better paper than most pap
Gotta say, that Ramsey Campbell writes some pretty disturbing sh*t .... Not in the Stephen-King-piledriver sense at all (see Under the Dome)... almost the opposite – Campbell crawls inside your head, gets nice and comfy, and then opens up his little box of dark slimy things after it's too late for you to uninvite him. As of this writing, I am about 75% of the way through both this book, and Silent Children, and I have, shall we say, paused for a while, because both tales have gotten to the point ...more
I would have given this two and a half stars if I had the option. Instead it gets two. The writing feels awkward at times, and the pace of the book is on the slow side. By the time the horror begins I was thinking oh good now it will get exciting, except that it became obvious very quickly that the bad things would happen in a formulaic manner. I'd say more but it might ruin the experience for others, and I like knowing that my own painful experiences may one day be experienced by others in a si ...more
May 02, 2008 Kij rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Booksellers
Recommended to Kij by: the bargain table
Shelves: booksaboutbooks
Well, the plot and any suspense generated by said plot are middling at best. However, as a bookseller, I was amused by the mundane details supplied by the author. Honestly, the only reasons why I bought the book was that it was on the bargain table and the fact we have an overnight inventory coming up in the store. I've entertained my fellow booksellers about the manifestations of evil; a children's department suddenly in disarray, customer orders missing, books shelved spine in on the shelves.. ...more
This book was like reading a policy manual for a new job. I felt like I'd been hired on at an only slightly interesting bookstore. A few chapters in I started to feel the grass would be greener at a different job, I mean book. Seriously, way too much detail about the bookstores procedures. It did not add anything to the plot or characters descriptions!
It took me over 300 pages to realize I hated this book. British restraint isn't the most conducive thing to horror... countless descriptions of the greyness of fog just aren't scary. Quit reading it, and still wonder why I didn't make that decision sooner.
William Thomas
A horror novel with not a single sign of anything horrific for the first 160 pages, except a ghost who sets off alarms and makes computers misspell words? A lame book by any standard.
Ericha Loch
An excellent premise with miserable implementation. This book promises mystery and intrigue but delivers only akward, hard-to-follow dialogue.
Jason Carlin
The only accomplishment about this book was that I managed to crawl my way through 170 pages of it before I decided it wasn't worth it. I suppose this could also be viewed as a flaw on my part for allowing such an atrocity to stay with me for so long. Honestly, terrible stuff. I rarely stop reading a book(perhaps one in fifty), but this gem couldn't be refused. Was I the only one who noticed that Campbell had an overwhelming penchant for making references to mud? And endless similes involving th ...more
Danger Kallisti
Feb 18, 2008 Danger Kallisti rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Campbell fans, people who work in corporate bookstores
Shelves: halloween
This really struck me as one of those books that famous people write because they know someone will buy it, and not because they have anything worthwhile to say. I mean, come on, a haunted Borders? By the end I was just counting the pages until it was done.

While he hinted at some dark and gruesome history to the place, he never actually made clear what that history was, and it felt he just killed everyone off so that he could call it good and say he'd finished the book.

For the king of atmosphe
Noah Soudrette
Nov 21, 2007 Noah Soudrette rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Ramsey Campbell fans, people who work in bookstores or regular old retail
Shelves: horror
Campbell manages to superbly capture the unique social hierarchy and experience of working in a book store. He offers a fun yet sharp edged take of everything from corporate policy, to weird customers, to inter-employee politics, and so on.

There is no term which can better describe this book than “slow burn.” The novel is divided into chapters, each chapter titled with a character’s name rather than a chapter number. This gives us a chance to get to know the myriad cast of characters by dividing
Any self-proclaimed aficionado of horror, be it in any form, ought to be ashamed of themselves if they aren't the least bit familiar with the brilliant body of work Ramsey Campbell has presented to the world over a period of time long enough to make him equal in ranks to horror literature as, say, Asimov, Heinlein and (Arthur C.) Clarke is to science fiction, what Romero or Argento are to genre film. Do your homework and find out for yourselves, for those of you who don't know any better.
Now ta
This slow-burn British flesh-crawler is populated by a mostly unlikable group of rather dreary worker bees who succumb one by one to the nasty supernatural evil that rules over the Borders-like corporate-owned bookstore that employs them. A lot of people here really seemed to hate this book and I can understand the feeling – the characters are hard to root for and the length of the novel is perhaps excessive (I could’ve lopped off a good 75 pages at least, with no discernable detriment to the ov ...more
While the author is adept at describing creepy scenery and terrible deaths...the book failed to connect me with the characters. I didn't care about who these people were or that they were in danger.

The book also failed to have the characters have that crucial realization that their lives were threatened by something. They went through almost the entire book, knowing that strange things were happening and that employees were disappearing...but no-one actually ever *realized* they were in trouble.
I like books; I like bookstores. Intrigued by the jacket cover, I bought this one. I marked it as read even if I'm only on page 86 because I don't intend to read it through and waste my time. That the chapters feel like merely an introduction of the characters rather than the presentation of a plot is easily forgivable in the first few pages, but I give up. You would think something would have happened by the 80th page but although a gay couple puckering it up for an affronted security guard was ...more
I always wanted to work in a bookstore. Ramsey Campbell did and it inspired him to write a book that will make you want to never ever even consider thinking that shelving books for a living could be fun. The book itself is pretty slow and reserved for a horror genre, scarier than the creatures is the mundane work place rut and the soul sucking passive aggressive co-workers. That, I think, Campbell captures very accurately. I don't yet know what to make of him as a horror writer, but I think I li ...more
Ugh! This is one of the worst books I have ever read!
I picked it up because I thought it was about a haunted bookstore. I work in a bookstore, so I thought "Cool, this could be fun and spooky". Wrong!
I was 3/4 the way through the book before anything really happened, and even then it wasn't much. I kept reading though, thinking ok, it's going to get better, have a good ending. Wrong.
What a pointless, disjointed mess of a book!
Anyone who is thinking of reading this, don't!
Shame on you Ramsey Camp
Mark R.
Ramsey Campbell is a well-known horror author, who's written a lot of books and received several awards. I apparently have not been picking the right novels of his, however, because this is the second one that overall bored me after the first hundred or so pages, the first being "The Count of Eleven". I don't want to judge the man's writing based on two books if he's got some really good ones out there, so maybe I'll just a little more research on the next title of his I'm thinking of reading.

Texts is a bookstore where things go bump in the night...and in the day. I had high expectations for this one, especially since Nazareth Hill by Campbell is such an excellent read. However, this was barely readable. The lyricism of Nazareth Hill is nowhere to be found in The Overnight and the characters never lived up to their early promise. So disappointing.
Other reviews of this book are right on. I enjoyed the characters but it didn't make up for the lack of climax. It starts off good, keeps you reading and you may actually get to a point where it's hard to walk away, but all of that leads to an anti-climatic finish. Even some un-resolve. I wouldn't recommend this book.
This book was such a steaming pile of worthless that I actually made a blog post with a photograph of the cover, urging people not to read it. Unutterably dull, pointless, and meandering; and after a few hundred pages of nothing- it has no ending! Joy.

The verdict: Avoid at all costs.
Very slow moving and quietly creepy horror story that takes place in a book store. I liked it . . . but it would be best appreciated by a bookseller. He provides a very detailed account of the book store world that would probably seem pretty dull to anyone else.
ick! I didn't even bother to finish it. It was boring. Some of the writing was poorly constructed. If this were handed in in a class, it would have been failed. My recommendation--don't waste your time.
Darren Vincent
Where to begin with this book...

I picked it up because I was in the mood for a supernatural horror type of book and the cover gave off a suitably creepy vibe AND as an employee of a video store, I was familiar with overnighters. I thought that this was right up my alley.


I found it very hard, as an American, to follow along the lingo from this English writer. There were just passages of text where I could not pick up where to pause, where to pick up speed and which words and phrases were lo
Christinia Zanotti Little
This has to have been one of the worst books I've ever read. I understood that Ramsey won Bram Stoker awards for his writings in the horror genre, therefore I was interested in his work. I apparently picked the wrong book to start with. I struggled to finish this one, hoping that something remotely interesting would occur, and something did - the book ended.

This book was mainly filled with pointless, flat characters that exist (in my opinion) to basically exchange smarty-pants quips at one anot
Kathy Jackson
Where oh where to begin? Actually, this review will be short and sweet - this book SUCKS.

There is nothing interesting about the story except for the above description. At every turn the writer fails to engage the reader. It has no climax after all the buildup to it - the whole thing was a disaster. It reminds me of a story someone might have written for NANO - where you are reaching the deadline and you still have 10,000 words to write so you write whatever and call it finished just so you can b
Benjamin Loc
In this book I thought this book was slow and boring. I thought this because the setting was at a library. Another this book was slow is because the characters in the book took a lot of time yelling at each other. An example "If you don't be quite and stop your yelling i am going to manhandle you." This shows that not much thing are going on, but the fighting. I can infer that when someone is yelling you don't want to listen in because as a rule not many people want to hear other people fighting ...more
This is a very slow moving, but creepy book. It took me almost a month to read it, which is quite a long time for me, but I eventually DID finish it, which I guess is something.

It's very Lovecraftian in that it doesn't really reveal much and the creepiness just sort of hangs about the edges of the story until the last 50 pages or so.

The point of view is interesting in that each chapter is narrated by a different character, which I thought was interesting and effective.

Ultimately, it was okay. I
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The Overnight 4 11 Jul 23, 2013 10:29AM  
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John Ramsey Campbell is a British writer considered by a number of critics to be one of the great masters of horror fiction. T. E. D. Klein has written that "Campbell reigns supreme in the field today," while S. T. Joshi has said that "future generations will regard him as the leading horror writer of our generation, every bit the equal of Lovecraft or Blackwood."
More about Ramsey Campbell...
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