Zakk reviews Thirteen Days by Sunset Beach by Ramsey Campbell

“Ex Libris The Eyes of Madness, simple reviews from a simple reader…”

Zakk reviews Thirteen Days by Sunset Beach by Ramsey Campell, 288 pages published by Flame Tree Press September 6, 2018.

Media Format

Paperback ARC provided by the publisher for review consideration.

Entertainment Value (Because the kids like numbers)

Personal 4/ 5

Potential for others 3/ 5


It’s Ray’s and Sandra’s first family holiday in Greece, on the island of Vasilema. The skies are cloudier than anywhere else in Greece, and they’re intrigued by local eccentricities—the lack of mirrors, the outsize beach umbrellas, the saint’s day celebrated with an odd nocturnal ritual. Why are there islanders who seem to follow the family wherever they go? Why do Sandra and the teenage grandchildren have strangely similar dreams? Has Sandra been granted a wish she didn’t know she made? Before their holiday is over, some of the family may learn too much about the secret that keeps the island alive.

Great Expectations (judging the book by it’s cover)

I have read an ashamedly few number of Ramsey Campbell novels so I am excited for a crack at this one.

Final Thoughts (judging the book by it’s content)

In my limited experience with the work of Ramsey Campbell I’ve come to learn that there are some aspects to be expected. All present and accounted for in Thirteen Days by Sunset Beach. One, a great deal of the “scares” will be cerebral, often open to interpretation, and they’ll land on a personal level or not at all. Two, they are very character driven with nuances of individual characters hiding secrets to be discovered. And speaking of nuance, three, Campbell’s dialog is as nuanced, cerebral, and deceptive as anything else, sometimes feeling as though it is purposely leading you the wrong way in a maze.

In a nutshell, that is Thirteen Days by Sunset Beach. A very deliberately paced yarn concerning the experiences of a family on island vacation. A simmering read, slow burn, if you will. The cast is entertaining and distinctive from one another and carry the story. The dialog, solid. There’s an unnerving feeling throughout the book, while the particular scares hide in the shadows, for the most part. Peaking out here and there, just enough to let your mind wander. Plus a handful of very effective, very unsettling set pieces/ scenes. Nightmare material for sure.

I did enjoy Thirteen Days, as I find myself hypnotized by Campbell’s dialog and narrative misdirection. But I would imagine that some will not. Or not as much, at least. The deliberately slow pace will lose some readers, as will the lack of immense gore and splatter. If crafty writing moves you as much or more than gratuitous viscera then give this one a go.


Jump in if you’re the type of reader that enjoy’s character driven, cerebral stories. Ease in and sample if you are not.

Put this Book on a Playlist With

Ghosts Know, The Kind Folk.

Tea & biscuits in the parlor.

What I Need to add to my TBR pile

Vintage Ramsey Campbell

Zakk is a big dumb animal!

**Note: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and I am choosing to review it voluntarily. These are my honest, unbiased feelings. I did not receive any sort of compensation.

Available for Purchase


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