Review: “Respects” by Ramsey Campbell

3 of 5 stars.

Grief is an isolating affair–an us vs. them situation tinting the spectacles through which one views the world. This subtle horror tale explores many facets and reactions to death.

Dorothy is a year widowed and still finds herself wanting to ask Harry a question or senses him in a room with her. She tends to flowers in her gardens which she gathers to enliven her house, despite her rundown neighborhood. And she often buys floral wreaths to don Harry’s grave.

Her house is broken into–par for the course in the neighborhood–by her neighbor’s eldest boy, Keanu. Later that day, Keanu dies in a single car accident right in front of the house when police give chase to the boy who’s stolen a vehicle. He’s treated like a folk hero with flowers and wreaths encircling the light pole which ended his car chase.

Keanu’s mother and siblings canvas the neighborhood looking for witnesses to the accident. They intimidate and threaten meek Dorothy repeatedly. She responds by retreating further into her lonely house that’s been violated already. The eeriness of the violation and heavy absence of her husband melds into a psychological horror.

This short story was included in the anthology The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror: 2010 edited by Paula Guran.
[Check out my other reviews here.]


One response to “Review: “Respects” by Ramsey Campbell

  1. Pingback: Short Story Review: “It Helps If You Sing” by Ramsey Campbell | Jaffalogue

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