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The Doll Who Ate His Mother by Ramsey Campbell

Nothing draws me in like a doll that comes to life, especially when it's full of sinister intentions. Does it really count as cannibalism if it's a doll eating a person?

I read this book on a flight from Boston to Seattle, so  in about three hours accounting for the nap breaks. The book read like a thriller/suspense movie. Nothing was completely terrifying or gory, though speckled throughout the book were vague comments related to incest. When Clare drives her cool, confident DJ brother Rob home, a strange figure darts into the road causing her to crash. While feeling guilt associated with being the driver, Clare jealously reflects that she was the first to see Rob pop a boner, not his wife. 

The book is set in England, where Ramsey Campbell is from, and  makes mention of fish and chips accordingly. However, there is no real mention of any doll. The title isn't completely misleading however. Our hero Clare teams up with a true crime writer, a handsome actor and an independent theater owner in an effort to crack the identity of the mysterious man that caused her accident.  They go on a Seven-like hunt (complete with library visit) and sift through clues until they uncover a name and unsettling history. The man they seek was spawned from a deal with the Devil. 

Tracing the origins back to a cult leader that forms lifelike sculptures of each of his followers in efforts to control them, they learn he has a strong proclivity towards pregnant women. Will the team of personally involved wannabe detectives be able to stop him? Unexpected plot twists drive the suspense and some highly unique death scenes get the reader's imagination into an entertainingly dark space.  Before this book, I never thought about what would be the most terrifying way for a blind person to be attacked. 

Reading up on Ramsey's personal life adds some intrigue to this first full length novel of his. His parents estranged from each other when he was young and his mother went on to develop paranoia and schizophrenia. This put a heavy strain on Ramsey who cared for his mother deeply. This book is a worst case scenario of how a child raises himself with the help of a devil worshiping community-- you know what they say, it takes a village!