The Face That Must Die
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The Face That Must Die

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3.73 of 5 stars 3.73  ·  rating details  ·  328 ratings  ·  20 reviews
Ramsey Campbell’s daring look into the mind of a psychotic killer was published in truncated form in 1979; an expanded edition was later published in 1982. The paranoid outlook of the book's main character, Horridge, is a grim commentary on a bleak Liverpool suburb and Thatcher-era England. Millipede Press is proud to present this masterpiece of paranoia literature in a br...more
Paperback, 312 pages
Published August 1st 2006 by Centipede Press (first published 1979)
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Mike Lester
This is one of Campbell's earlier and most well known novels. It's a strange and effective story of schizophrenia and paranoia in urban Liverpool (which Campbell always evokes so well in his work). I'm not going to give any plot points away, as I feel that would ruin the suspense of the story and the carefully constructed prose. There are some wonderful puns in the book (most of which were excised by the editors of the first edition because they felt the reading public wouldn't understand them....more
David Agranoff

I suppose I would have to file this under a classic I was long over due to read. It has been many years since I last read a Ramsey Campbell novel( I read Count of Eleven probably fifteen years ago). I have read lots of wonderful short stories over those years and not sure what took so long to get back to reading one of his novels.

If you don’t know Ramsey Campbell is novelist and film critic who is considered one of the greatest living British(or otherwise) horror novelists of all time. With goo...more
Clint
Man, this was just bad. I wanted to give it one star, but I just feel like I can't do that to Ramsey Campbell, he seems like such a nice guy.

I don't know why I keep reading his books. I really liked one collection when I was about 17, Alone With the Horrors was the title, I think, but really, everything else I've read, god, it's so dorky. He writes this quiet style of horror that I find really boring, the books seem to lose the plot quite often, and he spends a lot of time just dicking around i...more
Kevin
THE FACE THAT MUST DIE

This book deals with madness and I must say, I was left dealing with madness trying to finish this book. The pace was extremely slow, so slow at times that I found myself nodding off on more than one occasion.

In general, I prefer horror novels to have elements of horror, the type of horror that actually scares you. I for one do not find psychiatric disorders to be scary, especially when the main character spends much of his time doing nothing with the exception of talking...more
Nick
Oddly enough, the serial killer was the best-developed character in the story. The rest of them had "victim" written all over them for too much of the story, behaving in ways which seemed forced and unlikely, unless they were auditioning for a role in "world's dumbest slasher victims."
No, seriously, while this book came out before a lot of the slasher films, I still can't forgive weak victim characters. It's harder to empathize with them if they get killed by doing things that are remarkably odd...more
Aussiescribbler Aussiescribbler
I didn't find this book entirely satisfying, but what it does well it does very well indeed. Campbell manages to take us inside the mind of a paranoid homophobic murderer. The main horror is to feel what it would be like to be driven by fear, alienation and obsession to commit horrific acts. Horridge is very clearly a product of his environment, as much a victim as those he stalks. He has been consigned to live in an inhuman council estate, having been filled with hateful attitudes by his late f...more
Charles Dee Mitchell
The psycho killer has a wonderfully Dickensian name, John Horridge -- horror and porridge, how British. He is limping about the streets of 1970's Liverpool possessed of a homophobia so intense and irrational that he convinces himself that an "obvious homosexual" he sees on the street is responsible for two brutal killings of what sound like young rent boys. After he finds his deceased father's old straight razor, he resolves to do something about getting this filth off the street.

Horridge is a v...more
Dreadlocksmile
'The Face That Must Die' offers up a chilling novel that takes you into the mind of a psychotic, homophobic killer. The novel isn't drenched in gore or attempt to revolt you with graphic splashes of blood, but rather, it sickens you with the more subtle ploy of dragging you into the disturbed world of such a deranged character. Campbell's detailed construction of characterisation forms a terrifying read that will grip you from start to finish. The book screams an absurd paranoia that will send y...more
Jail
Ramsey campbell is one of my favorite horror writers and this was the book that initially hooked me. It's a depressingly realistic view of council estate life in Britain viewed through the eyes of an increasingly hostile and deranged paranoid schizoprenic.
Upon rereading, I found a few things that made me like it less, the end of the book is highly formulaic with a sort of keep you on the edge of your seat suspense style which was unlike much of Campbell's other writing. Also there's a frustrati...more
Simon Maginn
This is tremendous writing, muscular, brutal, rich and often beautiful. If the horror genre never existed, we would have to invent it just so we could have Ramsey Campbell. Don't worry if you're not a horror fan, there is nothing here to put you off, no vampires or werewolves or giant crabs or whatever it may be, just wonderful writing and a tremendous, meticulous eye. He's the best of them all, by some considerable distance, and he deserves a much, much wider readership. One of our best writers...more
Nick Urciuoli
Enjoyed the novel, but why was everything described as either muddy or rusty (or occasionally both)? And why was the city bus used as a scene setting so often? Oh, while I'm at it, why was the adjective "minute" and the adverb "plaintively" used so often? Hate to say this about such a well-regarded book, but I think The Face That Must Die would've profited from either a few more revisions or a closer edit.
Marvin
This is my favorite Campbell novel. It's a bit different than most of his novels as there is no supernatural elements. But it is a gripping character study of a psychotic killer in the tough streets of Liverpool. The particular edition I have (Scream Press) is embellished by the equally psychotic drawings of J. F. Potter.
Forrest Jackson
More suspenseful than outright scary, it's still one of the best written psycho killer novels. And, good news, Good Readers, the Millipede Press edition is a quality, smythe-sewn paperback that won't fall apart on you. On April 2nd, 2009 there will be a discussion about this title at Eerie Books in Wylie Texas.
Neon
After reading various other Ramsey Campbell books i then found this.The book is full of paranoid tension & atmosphere.It captures the time & the central character is brilliant.I loved this book so much that i read it another couple of times & will read again it in the future.
A really great book.
Steven
A gripping, tense look through the eyes of a serial killer. A pure page-turner that grips from page one, full of the very blackest humour and homicidal mania. The author's disarmingly frank introduction and afterword add a macabre kind of near-pathos. Excellent reading.
Derek Tatum
I don't know how he does it, but Campbell's writing style by itself is disturbing. "The Face That Must Die" is one of the high watermarks of psychological horror.
Aaron
Didn't finish. Strong prose and style, but the lunatic's inner monologue is so repetititve I had to give up.
Lee
First published in 1979, Campbell's story takes place in the mind of a psychotic killer.
Dave
This was great. The paranoid villain was amazing.
Rebecca
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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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“He hurried back. Walls seemed to shift and advance. Right here, it must be. Wasn’t this passage too short? No, it wasn’t a wall that blocked his way, only fog. The fog retreated before him—then at once yielded up a wall. Staggering crimson letters caught in the web of graffiti spelled KILLER.” 0 likes
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