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Ghosts Know Hardcover – October 1, 2013

2.9 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Graham Wilde is an opinionated and troublemaking talk-radio host, and he’s just been told to kick it up a notch by his producer in the interest of impressing the station’s buyers. Inviting Frank Jasper, a so-called psychic, to be on his show seems like the perfect opportunity to do just that. When Wilde uses Jasper’s fake psychic tricks, and a shared history, to expose him as a charlatan on air, he enrages many of his listeners—and entertains others. He’s gone too far, though: when he next encounters Jasper, the “psychic” manipulates circumstantial evidence to apparently point to Wilde as a murderer. Wilde’s reactions to this perceived threat—and the reactions of his colleagues and fans—all lead to increasing alienation and despair for Wilde. Ghosts Know is an interesting exploration of a very particular, internalized type of psychological horror; Wilde’s spiral into paranoia and rage is abrupt and unnerving. Campbell’s prose is sure enough to pull the story along steadily, despite the unreliability and confusion of the narrator. --Regina Schroeder

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"Campbell is in top form, cleverly pulling readers’ strings at every turn."―Publishers Weekly

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; 1 edition (October 1, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765336332
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765336330
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,077,787 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Ramsey Campbell's fiction is not for those who like their thrills served up in a conventional manner. Although cleanly pared down, his prose is complex and suggestive, requiring keen attention to earn its copious rewards. But once it all clicks into place, there really is no equal. Reading Campbell as his best -- and in his later work (including Ghost Knows), that's what he often is -- is an experience and not just a quick reading diversion. His stories commonly involve meandering plots where nothing is quite what it seems. In Ghosts Knows, Campbell draws upon almost Hitchcockian pacing skills developed in fine, earlier crime novels (The Count of Eleven, Silent Children, The Last Voice They Hear) and serves up some seriously troubling and, ahem, eye-wateringly dark delights. You'll see. Another fine contribution to a branch of the genre that is almost the exclusive domain of Ramsey Campbell.

(I bought the original PS Publishing version of this novel.)
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Campbell is a prolific and vaunted horror writer. I have enjoyed his books in the past and looked forward to Ghosts. In the book’s acknowledgements, Campbell said it was a story he had been mulling since the 1970s. If it had been fermenting that long, it had to be terrific!

Well—Graham Wilde is a confrontational radio talk show host who thinks a psychic, Frank Jasper, who has been called in for help on the murder of a local girl, is a fake. Wilde knows Jasper from childhood and embarrasses Jasper when he has him appear on the radio show. Then Jasper has a vision regarding the murdered girl that implicates Wilde in the murder. So far, so good. Looked like the plot would be Wilde and Jasper backstabbing each other. But, no, the intriguing Jasper antagonist simply drops out of the story at that point, and Wilde proceeds, in bumbling fashion, to try and expose the real killer to clear his name. He does expose the real killer—a character with which Wilde had no prior conflict—by getting the real killer to confess on the air.

Only he doesn’t. I read through the salient parts several times to make sure I hadn’t missed something. There was no logical reason at all for Wilde to suspect this person was the real killer, and in the on-air exchange, the real killer said nothing remotely approaching a confession. The killer didn’t even mention the crime. How this “mystery” was solved was the only real mystery, along with why the book was called Ghosts Know, since there was no ghost or other supernatural element whatsoever.

If your main character has an enemy, then that is who or what your main character should ultimately confront. And if the story is about solving a crime, then the crime should be solved in a way that makes some kind of sense.
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Format: Hardcover
I have to say it's not what I expected going in. I really enjoyed the back and fourth between Frank and Graham in what was at it's core a very interesting story. Graham trying to expose a phony psychic while said psychic tries in influence Graham as a suspect in a disappearance/ murder. And had Graham responded in a more believable/ cooperative manner I may have been more involved in the tale. As it is, Ghosts Know is an interesting character study of people in aggressive/ confrontational media.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Ramsey Campbell is a true great of the horror genre and Ghosts Know is one of my favourites of his. The story centres on a radio talk show host of the most confrontational kind. He is also a total skeptic who decides to take on a supposed psychic and expose him as a complete fake. As might be imagined, the psychic- Frank Jasper - is not particularly partial to being labelled a charlatan and when he assists a family whose daughter is missing, things begin to get more than a little complicated for Maddox. I read this story at one sitting because I simply couldn't put it down. A few hours later, I emerged, thoroughly satisfied, my head still full of the clever twists of the plot. Maddox is not a particularly likeable character - quite the reverse n fact - but I still managed to empathise with his situation. Now that's the mark of a first class writer!
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Format: Kindle Edition
This is a good book, but I'm not sure why it's called horror. Even among literary horror novels, it doesn't quite seem to fit. It's my first reading of Campbell, although he's been recommended to me many times, and I will read more by the author, because he's a fine writer, and his characters are wonderfully real. I hope other novels by Campbell are creepier.

Graham Wilde is fascinating. His struggles with rage could easily have become overbearing or clichéd, but they did not, primarily because he never loses the struggle, never lets his rage take over, making this reader wonder if his anger was transferred, originally targeted at himself for being a coward and then redirected at everyone else. Wilde is not a coward, reacting to danger in the same way most anyone would, but I wonder if he sees himself subconsciously as cowardly. Psychologically, he is complex.

The story is a murder mystery, and Wilde is the primary murder suspect. He could be an unreliable narrator. It's a fascinating story. And the despair he sinks into is profound. But as I read the jacket cover, which promises a "kaleidoscope of terror", I wonder if I missed something. I didn't feel that I had while reading. Perhaps it's a book that reads better the second time.
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