The Seven Days of Cain
Author: Ramsey Campbell
Unless you're talking about homes adorned with stacks of H.P. Lovecraft books and horror movie DVDs, Ramsey Campbell's name isn't a household one, and that's too bad. Responsible for dozens of excellent scary novels and even more memorable short stories, the Liverpool, England, native is widely revered in the genre community, particularly lovers of horror fiction.
His prose is often hypnotically dreamlike, pulling readers into worlds that resemble reality but very subtly shift into supernatural nightmare-scapes. For the best of Campbell's work, check out The Doll Who Ate His Mother, The Face That Must Die, and the short story collection Alone with the Horrors.
And steer clear of The Seven Days of Cain. It's not an awful novel by any means—it's just overly familiar for anyone who's well-acquainted with the man's output. Similar to how filmmaker George A. Romero disastrously copied himself with the shitty zombie flick Survival of the Dead, The Seven Days of Cain finds Campbell repeating past plot devices and scare tactics in a story that, atypical to the writer's other books, is quite dull.
It's deeply rooted in the fears surrounding one's discomfort with the Internet, showing how a not-web-savvy guy sinks into overwhelming paranoia once he starts receiving bizarre emails that all connect to a string of recent murders. Ignoring the fact that the book's protagonist still uses dial-up in 2010, The Seven Days of Cain comes off as a lazier, less interesting version of Campbell's earlier, genuinely disturbing novel The Grin of the Dark, which used the World Wide Web to a much creepier effect. —Matt Barone