The Doll Who Ate His Mother

Ramsey Campbell
The Doll Who Ate His Mother Cover

Did This Really Scare People in the 1970's?


The second best thing about this book is its title.

The best thing is an incident in the first chapter. After a car crash, the first person on the scene, rather than offering help, steals the severed arm of one of the victims who subsequently bleeds to death.

After that there is a so-so tale of a true crime writer, the sister of the man with the stolen arm, another man whose mother was eaten on after dying of a heart attack, and a young hippie street performer. (This was written in 1976.) About halfway through there is a twist that will come as a surprise to anyone who hasn't taken a couple of minutes out of reading the first half to figure out what is going to happen.

This is yet another Ramsey Campbell novel that comes slathered in praise from other horror writers and is described as more frightening than The Exorcist. I don't get it.

What Campbell does best is capture the beat-down world of Liverpool in the 1970's.