The Searching Dead

Flame Tree Pr. Feb. 2021. 256p. ISBN 9781787585584. $24.95. HORROR
Campbell (The Wise Friend), Britain’s most decorated horror novelist, presents for the first time in America the opening title in his trilogy of biographical novels documenting the horrors of growing up in conservative, post–World War II Liverpool. The books feature a great and powerful cosmic evil that one man, Dominic, confronts over the course of his lifetime. Readers here meet Dominic at age 15, as he visits a WWII French battlefield where some say the dead appeared and uncovers a religious cult gaining strength in his bomb-battered neighborhood. As shadowy and lurking dangers become clear, Dominic must figure out whom to trust and how to battle the evils of his world, both real and supernatural. This novel is not only the start of an awesome horror epic by a master, but also a compelling coming-of-age story about a budding writer finding his way in a terrifying world.
VERDICT A finalist in the Horror category for the British Fantasy Award, this is a slow burn of a novel with a fantastic pay-off, an intense and menacing story framed by superior worldbuilding. It is a good suggestion for fans of It by Stephen King or the “African Immortals” series by Tananarive Due.
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