Grayson Queen's Reviews > The Grin of the Dark

The Grin of the Dark by Ramsey Campbell
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's review
Aug 18, 2012

did not like it
Read on August 18, 2012

I made it 42 pages into this book so i can't say how the story is but the writing is atrocious. I though I was reading something from a teenage author I(you know the ones publishers print as a gimmick and then eventually realized they've been plagiarizing). When I was in high school i wrote like Ramsey Campbell. Here's and example:

...Why am I trying to piece this together when I should be watching? I hurry into the communal lounge and switch on the video player.

A tape is nesting in it. When I eject the cassette, which bears only a blank label, I can't find its slipcase. I stow it in the case of my film and plant it among the cans and dreggy glasses on the mantelpiece. Once I've entrusted my tape to player I clear a pizza box off the least lumpy armchair as the television screen lights up. It looks as if the brightness is trying to scratch the screen white, but surely only the start of the tape is worn. Most of the ragged glaring strips drift off the screen and the distributors trademark appears--two Vs so close together they could be taken for a W--and I'm able to suppress some of the lingering interference with the remote control, which is sticky from someone's television dinner. Those Golden Years of Fun is compiled and narrated... (The main character goes on to tell us exactly what's on the video for the next 5 pages.)

(my rendition):
And then I ate some food, and it was a microwavable meal that I always get at the grocery store six blocks away because the one down the streets is run by a clerk who always asks me about what I'm buying. When I put it in the microwave I'm reminded that I haven't cleaned it in months and it smells like old broccoli and other things that I've microwaved a bunch of time in this very dirty microwave because I live with roommates. Oh and did I mention this is a horror novel?

Seriously? What is the point of the inane play by play. Put the damn tape in show us what happens on the screen and get to the next point.

And what the hell does this mean, "It looks as if the brightness is trying to scratch the screen white"?

A large part of the first 42 pages are filled with these types of scenes. At first I chalked it up to the author being British, but I was wrong. And I can't fathom how he won as many awards as he has. Or maybe it goes to show you can have a hundred ribbons but that doesn't make you a general (or good writer).

Read this book if you want a good example of how not to write or is you like being annoyed.

I really want to talk about the idiotic introductory scare tactics he was trying to use, but I don't want to click the "this has spoilers" box.
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10/17/2016 marked as: read

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