Bruce Fretts
October 24, 2003 AT 04:00 AM EDT

The Darkest Part of the Woods

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Ramsey Campbell
genre
Horror

We gave it a B-

From ”Little Red Riding Hood’ ‘to ”The Blair Witch Project,” the woods have provided the setting for innumerable spooky stories. Liverpudlian fantasist Campbell puts a Brit-lit spin on the genre with the tale of Dr. Lennox Price, a psych professor whose obsession with the ancient English forest of Goodmanswood leads to madness, monsters, and mayhem. But mostly it just leads to talk, talk, and more talk, as the narrative gets tangled up in a thicket of verbiage. Campbell’s primary scare tactic consists of anthropomorphizing plants (”The tree seemed poised to lurch at her”). Employing a bit too much British reserve, Campbell creates a literary oxymoron: the tasteful horror novel.

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