“The stepping stones looked so close together he didn’t have to stretch to walk. Only he was on the middle two when he felt them start to move. And when he looked down he saw the stream was really as deep as the sky, and lying on the bottom was a giant made out of rocks and moss that was holding up its arms to him. They were longer than he didn’t know how many trees stuck together, and their hands were as big as the roots of an old tree, and he was standing on top of two of the fingers. Then the giant’s eyes began to open like boulders rolling about in the mud, and its mouth opened like a cave and sent up a laugh in a bubble that spattered the boy with mud, and the stones he was on started to move apart...”
Ramsey Campbell has just celebrated fifty years of writing horror. Just Behind You collects eighteen of his most recent tales. They range from the supernatural to paranoid psychological terror, from nightmare comedy to eerie pathos. The mobile phone becomes a source of unease, and so does a night in a modern hotel. We’re introduced to a Liverpool pub with a welcome as unnerving as it’s irresistible, and a bookshop no booklover would want to leave. An urban nature reserve harbours the weirdly unnatural, and a seaside lake attracts an unusual species of visitor. An author is overcome by more than words, and a lecturer by more than silence. A boy finds that his bed is no hiding place from the deceased, and a school visit revives more and worse than memories. Peter Straub once wrote “The world Ramsey Campbell takes for granted is the world of our darkest nightmares.” Here are several years’ worth of them, and you may find that they look like your world too.
John Ramsey Campbell (born 1946) is a British horror writer.
Since Ramsey Campbell first came to prominence in the mid-1960s, critics have cited Campbell as one of the leading writers in his field: T. E. D. Klein has written that "Campbell reigns supreme in the field today", while S. T. Joshi stated, "future generations will regard him as the leading horror writer of our generation, every bit the equal of Lovecraft or Blackwood."