The Parasite by Ramsey Campbell
Publisher/Year: Venture Press, 2017 (orig. Tom Doherty Associates, 1980)
Format: E-book (Kindle)
Rose Tierney and her husband Bill are successful writers, picking apart films and enlightening the masses.
They are invited to New York to talk business and get invited to a party where one of the guests, a quiet Diana, is interested in the occult. Bill has a tarot card reading and dismisses it out of hand, but when it’s Rose’s turn, it sparks something in her.
That night, she has an odd out-of-body experience and is attacked by an unknown force.
Diana, through a premonition, found Rose and helped her back to her apartment to recover. The assault seems to waken her dormant psychic powers, and Diana excitedly encourages Rose to pursue them, to learn how to master them.
Rose quickly begins experiencing premonitions and discovers that her self can leave her body, later discovering all the intricacies of astral projection.
At first frightened by her newfound powers, she soon begins to explore, both her own abilities and the world that they belong to.
She soon discovers that her sinister feeling greenhouse, Hitler and the Nazis, and her quiet hometown all seem to have something in common. As her powers grow, her relationships with those around her grow increasingly turbulent.
Rose Tierney is no longer alone in her own body, and her newfound powers belong not to her, but to that Other.
The evil seed that was planted in Rose twenty years ago is about to flower.
What I thought
I have SO many mixed feelings on this one.
I’ll start with the not-so-good & end on a positive note, how’s that?
I did like this book, but there were some things that just didn’t do it for me. The thing I struggled with the most was the pacing–it was so up & down. I mean, I would read a hundred pages in an hour or two & then it would take me a couple days to get through just one chapter. I think this was due mostly to Campbell’s writing style. I’ve heard of a slow build, but at certain points, this was just painful. Yes, I will say that feelings of unease & dread increased as the story moved along, which let to that ultimate feel of a horror story. It was just that every once in a while, it seemed like Campbell would fixate on describing every. last. detail. & every. minute. thought. I’d be reading along & just hit a brick wall.
All that aside, I’m glad I decided to keep going when I was ready to give up. This tale was genuinely terrifying & I can see how Campbell has earned his place among the horror genre’s classics. That prologue was enough to keep me reading through the tough spots–surely writing that scary couldn’t be a one time thing. And let me tell you…it wasn’t.
If you can get used to Campbell’s writing style (or simply get past the slower parts), this is a must read for fans of the horror genre. It might not be the right book for all readers, but I liked it & I’ll be looking to read more from Ramsey Campbell.