I'll start my review with an old review, one I wrote in 1997 when this novel first came out in the US:
"Must survive until they take me from this place." Scribbled in the margins of an ancient, moldy Bible, found wedged between the roots of a tree, is the truth about what Nazarill (now a luxury apartment building) once was, centuries ago--when it was Nazareth Hill. Sixteen-year-old Amy struggles to decipher the messages--while her father becomes increasingly dictatorial, fanatical, and monstrous.
This perfectly constructed, richly terrifying novel will satisfy even those readers who've been reluctant about Ramsey Campbell. As S.T. Joshi, award-winning scholar of weird fiction, wrote in [sadly, deceased] Necrofile, "Nazareth Hill will not be long in taking rank as one of the finest haunted house novels in literature, rivaling even Shirley Jackson's masterful Haunting of Hill House.... With this novel [Campbell] has unified the many themes of his earlier work--pure supernaturalism; exploration of social and domestic trauma; chilling portrayal of psychosis--in a seamless fusion."
What I said about how Nazareth Hill
would satisfy? The years gone by have not changed my opinion about that. I almost never say this, but this novel is guaranteed to hit the spot, for anyone who loves horror. Not only that, it will hook those who like stories about creepy buildings with evil in their past, but don't think of themselves as horror fans. And I haven't even gotten started on the people who'd go for a story about a teenaged girl trapped in a one-on-one living arrangement with a father who more and more is getting darkly weird (or weirdly dark).
Be assured, though--just because Nazareth Hill
can be loosely called a haunted house novel, it's not in the least bit formulaic: Campbell is no write-by-the-numbers author. He's the real deal. You may not know much about him, but that's just provincial bias--to which we're all prone--those blinders we have against knowing what's happening on the other side of the pond. No matter. To those in the know, to the experts who deserve that title, Ramsey Campbell, a Brit, is the best horror writer alive. And Nazareth Hill
is an excellent place to fall under his spell. If you dare!
Spooky plays with the mind,good read.
From the back of the book:
In Nazareth Hill, Campbell focuses on a small, highly dysfunctional family - a teenage girl and her father. The emotional turmoil of the girl's adolescence is matched by her father's midlife crisis, and as the novel unfolds, it becomes clear that this battle is only one stage in a centuries-old war between authority and rebellion, suspicion and innocence.
Creepy, creepy, creepy! An incredible psychological thriller that had me on the edge of my seat. A diverse group of people, including a photographer, a judge, an insurance man, and others all are neighbors in an exclusive apartment complex known as Nazarille. When old Mr. Roscommon starts seeing "something" moving in the windows of an unoccupied apartment, neighbors write it off as dementia. And when teenaged Amy starts to agree with him, her father tells her it isn't possible. However, they both know what they've seen, and it appears to be the ruins of human beings who were once incarcerated there... Amy begins to research the history of the building, while her father slowly disintegrates into the madness that living in what was previously known as Nazareth Hill has brought upon him.
Initially this book was difficult to read because it has British words and phrases that are unfamiliar, as in "wireless" for radio, and others. But once a reader learns what is meant, it smooths out and moves along well. D. (gardngal)