Whilst the whole debate about what constitutes a piece of horror fiction rages on - with camps firmly established on either side of the genre divide - it's entirely heart warming to know that there are those writers who couldn't care less; who produce works of outstanding quality and allow the results to speak for themselves. And in this return to all things supernatural, Ramsey Campbell re-affirms himself as king of the trade.
The book is rich in the most subtle yet disturbing descriptions, leaving the reader quite literally haunted by the prose and yet simultaneously captivated, forever wanting to return to its pages. Mr Campbell makes us attach to, and care about, the main characters with prolific ease and provides an eerie background against which our beliefs are willingly suspended. As each page is turned the woods become darker - a very clever trick indeed - and our interest deepens as we begin to sense what macabre ends are in sight, whilst all the while we start to feel those good old goosebumps gradually growing in numbers and creeping across our skin. This book really is a whole lot more than very, very good. It's more like a 'how to' and guide for any aspiring or already published horror writer.
The Darkest Part of the Woods is a fine addition to that age-old school of chills for entertainment. Whilst the plot isn't particularly complex (a comment made as a compliment) the craft of the writing is so sublime that the simplest of notions are transformed into uneasy prospects that remind us what it was like to fear the dark and genuinely believe that anything could happen.
A must read for all, horror fan or not!