The Count of Eleven - Ramsey Campbell

This book showed up in our office's informal lending library, so I thought I'd give it a whirl.  I like psychological thrillers, and this seemed like a good one.

Jack Orchard is obsessed with numerology, and thinks of eleven as his lucky number.  When he is sent a chain letter, with instructions to send it on to 13 people in order to "turn ill luck into good," he decides to do just that.  His family is trying to buy a larger house, and he figures it can't hurt.

Well, all sorts of misfortunes start to befall Jack's family, beginning with him accidentally setting fire to his own business while he tries to strip paint off of the door with a blowlamp (the book is written by a UK author and set in Liverpool; in the US, we would call that a blow torch).  He concludes that these difficulties must be due to folk not passing on the chain letter, and he sets out to get revenge on them.

The book then takes a turn into the world of schizophrenia, as Jack compartmentalizes his criminal life from his family life. This is the part that, in my opinion, should have been most interesting.  Unfortunately, it became nothing but repetitious in my eyes.  By the time the book reached its denoument, which was fairly predictable and anti-climactic, I was just relieved to be done with it.

In the final analysis, the book wasn't terrible; nor was it brilliant.