The Hungry Moon - Ramsey Campbell
Somewhere in the 360 pages of The Hungry Moon is a good story. I just know there is. Actually finding it is the problem. At his best, Campbell is an English version of Charles L. Grant with a smattering of King and Lovecraft thrown in, for good measure. Other times, he feels like a rambling Alzheimer's patient trying to find his way around in the dark. The atmosphere is creepy and captivating. The character development? Yeesh. Not so much. I like to pride myself with being able to keep a firm grasp of the characters I'm reading and visualizing the settings, situations, etc. In The Hungry Moon, you'll swear that the American teacher is also the bookstore owner, the bitchy mom is another bitchy person, etc. All throughout the story, you'll find yourself rereading something and asking "Now, who was that again?" Why Campbell can painstakingly describe the moors to the point where you feel you're walking across it yourself, but vaguely puts each of his characters in a vague shroud of homegenization, I'll never know. It's really too bad. A story about a village overcome by religious hysteria caused by a Celtic monster sounds intriguing. You'll get so frustrated with the religious nuts, that you'll want to be the one to throw the first punch. Unfortunately, you'll have to wade through the endless drivel and blah to get there. And then after all of that, you think that after the steady crescendo towards the end there would be a big payoff. Nada. The ending is so anticlimactic and unsatisfying, it feels like a cop out. The Hungry Moon has just enough to keep you turning the pages, but not so much that you'll be glad that you did.
2 1/2 Roads That Lead to Nowhere out of 5
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