While the setting is interesting (a science fiction world where people can shed bodies for new ones, which can be shaped and sculpted like artwork), t...moreWhile the setting is interesting (a science fiction world where people can shed bodies for new ones, which can be shaped and sculpted like artwork), the book prefers to let its milieu be the main character instead of the people who do stuff. While that might be interesting, if the protagonist were experiencing the world's many aspects via a road story (it sets out to be this at the beginning, but ultimately abandons the notion), it decides to take a different course.
This novella stops cold far too often, while the author fills us in on various elements pertaining to the interesting world. Often, these have little of merit or substance to do with the actual characters and their stories. This made it a real chore for me to slog through, one I almost abandoned (and probably should have). Not my cup of tea, which is a shame. The author has some nice descriptive ability and a decent ear for dialogue. Too bad the slim story is made to feel somewhat shallower than it actually is.(less)
One part paranoid thriller, one part eerie whodunnit. With GHOSTS KNOW, Ramsey Campbell channels a little of Robert Bloch's pessimistic sense of humor...moreOne part paranoid thriller, one part eerie whodunnit. With GHOSTS KNOW, Ramsey Campbell channels a little of Robert Bloch's pessimistic sense of humor through an acute psychological study.
A confrontational radio talk show host must get a little more provocative to keep his ratings high and his new corporate owners happy. However, when he agrees to interview a renowned psychic medium, he discovers good natured antagonism gone terribly awry. Soon, he our protagonist is deeply involved in a missing girl's fate.
The book is an urban nightmare, with plenty of weird elements (including a crew of talk show callers who seem more ghostly than they ought) though it plays things surprisingly straight. Are there ghosts? Is this all mundane and simple psychological breakdown? Campbell plays his cards close to his chest and withholds answers until the very end.
A Campbell novel is a treat, and GHOSTS KNOW is no exception.(less)
On a world without order, a man hunts his brother's killer. Anarchaos was founded on the principles of anarchy, and that is its "governing" state; how...moreOn a world without order, a man hunts his brother's killer. Anarchaos was founded on the principles of anarchy, and that is its "governing" state; however, even on a planet without law there can be justice...
The book reads like a mashup of Westlake's gritty crime novels (particularly those written both during the original 1960s printing of this book, as well as his grim, pseudonymous heist novels from the 70s) and a science fiction book. The result is quite readable. One can feel the pulpmeister's keys punching away, adding some extra and extraneous scenes to fill out the word count, but the book is short enough that even these distractions aren't dealbreakers.
All told, an enjoyable romp with a proto-Parker (the character from the author's series under the Richard Stark pseudonym) and a colorful setting.(less)