The Last Voice They Hear [NOOK Book]


An investigative journalist is in the middle of a publicity tour for his new book when a voice from the past phones him. Someone is killing happily married couples, looking for the right combination of age and attitude, the right sort of family ties. That someone might be the journalist's brother.

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The Last Voice They Hear

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An investigative journalist is in the middle of a publicity tour for his new book when a voice from the past phones him. Someone is killing happily married couples, looking for the right combination of age and attitude, the right sort of family ties. That someone might be the journalist's brother.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Compared to Campbell's extraordinary horror novel, Nazareth Hill, his new suspense thriller is disappointingly ordinary. Reprising the theme that has dominated his writing for the past decade, Campbell once again contemplates the dismal consequences of the breakdown of the family. The happy married life of young father and investigative reporter Geoff Davenport is shattered when his unbalanced, resentful, long-lost stepbrother, Ben, kidnaps Geoff's three-year-old son. Ben still blames Geoff for the parental abandonment he suffered after his sibling's birth. Incited by Geoff's recent TV documentary on a negligent home for children, Ben has embarked on a crime spree that culminates in the kidnapping. The plot unfolds without complication as a simple cat-and-mouse game in which Ben lures Geoff to an inevitable confrontation through clues keyed to shared childhood experiences. It is the novel's conceit that Geoff's family fails to recognize Ben's identity, but readers will guess easily which peripheral character in the Davenports' social circle to suspect. Although Campbell provides moments of tension that rival his most chilling terrors including a riveting finale, these are just tentative shocks in an otherwise slack crime drama. It's a tribute to his precise characters and dialogue that this predictable story still compels attention, yet one senses Campbell is just marking time before his next horror opus. June
Kirkus Reviews
British psychothriller in the vein of Campbell's The Count of Eleven (1992) and Nazareth Hill (1997), with none of his more familiar occult horror and supernatural trimmings. Some nut is killing the happily marrieds around Windsor—perhaps someone insanely jealous of their joys, and clearly someone who has a way of tapping into their home life. Could it be the bland but persistent cab driver who seems unnaturally interested in the private lives of his fares? Or another of the eccentrics on the periphery of the community? The theme of endangered families allows Campbell to display one of his most delectable gifts: writing affectionately about marriage and children while unsettling the reader with subtle suggestions of imminent disaster. Here, he focuses on Geoff and Gail Davenport and their three-year-old son Paul. Geoff, an investigative TV journalist, has just published an expos‚ of mismanaged children's homes when he begins receiving heavy-breathing wordless phone calls. He suspects that the figure on the other end is his long-vanished older half-brother Ben, a suspicion he reluctantly shares with Gail, who until now had not known of Benþs existence. Vastly abused as a child, Ben ran off at 18 rather than enter the family firm, and he hasn't been seen since. Now, Geoff suspects, Ben wants to revive their childhood game of hide-and-seek; this time out, the clues include a letter left under the bedroom rug of a house they were raised in. Geoff resists Ben's attempts to get him to play, but Ben, of course, isnþt just playingþhas in fact become a serial killer. As his crimes pile up, he earns the moniker The Kissing Bandit for the ingenious and gruesome way inwhich he murders couples. One knows far ahead that Ben's big moment will come with his kidnap of baby Paul. Ghoulish? You bet, though clever Ben isn't as fearsome as the savagely moronic Fancy family of Campbellþs 1996 novel, The One Safe Place.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312870782
  • Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates
  • Publication date: 10/15/1999
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 1,413,188
  • File size: 404 KB

Meet the Author

Ramsey Campbell has won more awards than any other living author of horror or dark fantasy, including four World Fantasy Awards, nine British Fantasy Awards, three Bram Stoker Awards, and two International Horror Guild Awards. Critically acclaimed both in the US and in England, Campbell is widely regarded as one of the genre's literary lights for both his short fiction and his novels. His classic novels, such as The Face that Must Die, The Doll Who Ate His Mother, and The Influence, set new standards for horror as literature. His collection, Scared Stiff, virtually established the subgenre of erotic horror.

Ramsey Campbell's works have been published in French, German, Italian, Spanish, Japanese, and several other languages. He has been President of the British Fantasy Society and has edited critically acclaimed anthologies, including Fine Frights. Campbell's best known works in the US are Obsession, Incarnate, Midnight Sun, and Nazareth Hill.

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Read an Excerpt

  The Last Voice They Hear
oneWhen the phone rang just after midnight he was sure it must be Gail. He threw a handful of cold water in his mouth to clear it of toothpaste and unhooked the receiver from the hotel bathroom wall. “Hi,” he said, and then “Hello?”He’d already heard a newsreader’s voice. “Police have confirmed they believe there is a link between the murder of a Sussex couple,” she said, and more that he covered up by repeating his hello. He was beginning to think he had a crossed line when he heard the close hollow sound of a face pressed against a receiver. Then the presence went away, and the broadcast voice came forward, reading another story. “This is Geoff Davenport,” said Geoff, wanting to get to the end of rather too long a day. “If I’m who you’re after—”He was holding a dead lump of clammy plastic, which he returned to the wall. He switched off the anonymous glare of the bathroom and crossed the extensive panelled bedroom to the phone by the window. Beyond the parks on the far side of Princess Street, tiers of a dozen or more windows supported the gables of the tenements of old Edinburgh against the crags and a glowing stony sky. Very faintly through the double glazing he heard along one of the tracks gathered into Waverley Station a train shaking itself awake. He felt in need of doing so. He reached for the phone to ask the hotel operator if she could trace the call, and it rang.“Geoff Davenport.”“That was worth waiting for,” said Gail, her San Francisco voice hoarse yet sweet, invigorating as a cappuccino. “I hope it wasn’t a playmate who stopped me getting through before.”“My only playmate’s hundreds of miles away at the end of this line.”“Better had be. Sorry to call so late. The pride of the family’s working on some new teeth.”“How is he now?”“Quiet at last. Lifting weights in his sleep.”Geoff clearly saw younger than three-year-old Paul lying face up in his cot, fists half open above his head. “Will he have any new words to surprise me with when I come home?”“He nearly said milk today if I’m not kidding myself.”“We knew he was fond of the containers.”“Takes after his dad. So who was that on the line before?”“Must have been a wrong number. The kind that can’t be bothered to say who they are.”“Not even any heavy breathing? Poor Geoff. Edinburgh’s been looking after you better than that mostly, I hope.”“Plenty of books to autograph and questions to answer.”“Any awkward ones I could have helped with?”“When’s the next series of The Goods to be was the popular choice.”“To which the answer was …”“As far as I’m concerned, not until my favourite researcher is ready to work on it. But then I’m only the front man who was lucky enough to be asked to write the book.”“Famous presenter and best-selling writer, you mean. Maybe the channel will have brought the crèche back by the time I’m needed. And if not you’re the essential one, not me.”“Without you I wouldn’t be where I am now.”“So long as you aren’t at the weekend, or Paul will be starting to wonder what you look like.”“Show him a tape of The Goods. Help, no, don’t. I’ve done enough trying to live up to how makeup and the camera make me look without having to at home as well.”“How you look at home is how we like it. Better head for bed now so you can look your best for Glasgow. Or are you in bed?”“Wish I were, with you.”“Sleep well instead. Take the phone off the hook if you like.”“You know I won’t.”“That’ll help me sleep,” said Gail, and then there was a silence, since neither of them liked saying goodbye. “We’ll call you tomorrow,” she told him instead, and was gone.Having talked to her allowed Geoff to enjoy his tiredness, of which there was at least a day’s worth. He slipped beneath the quilt, the underside of which was several degrees cooler than the room. He seemed hardly to have groped for the light-switch when he was nothing but asleep.The phone wakened him. As he grappled the receiver off its cradle he saw twelve on the bedside clock reduce itself to one, and the minutes turn into the blank eyes of a double zero. “Hello?” he demanded, wobbling into a sideways crouch draped with the quilt. “Who is it? What’s—”The voice awaiting him might almost have been a recording one hour old. “Police have confirmed they believe there is a link between the murder of a Sussex couple and several similar crimes still under investigation …”“Damned bloody—” Geoff snarled, then was sufficiently awake to control himself. “Whoever you are, you need help. I don’t think it’s my kind of help you need, but if you really want to talk to me I’d appreciate it if at least—”He wasn’t expecting the sudden violent breath in his ear. It seemed to focus the mugginess of the room on him, and made the caller feel uncomfortably close. “I can hear you,” Geoff said, “and I’ll tell you now—”This time the breath was measured, and he knew the caller meant to speak. The arm that held the phone was propped on the bedside table, and Geoff used it to hitch himself into a less cramped position. As the newsreader came to the end of the story Geoff’s arm began to shiver. He was about to struggle out of the posture in which he’d trapped himself when a voice spoke so close that it felt like part of him. “You didn’t stop it, Geoffrey.”Copyright © 1998 by Ramsey Campbell
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