Lovecraft’s Monsters – book review

lovecrafts-monsters b-cover

Lovecraft’s Monsters

edited by Ellen Datlow
anthology – Tachyon Pyblications

Lovecrafts Monsters - Ellen DatlowThe book starts off with a great story by Neil Gaiman titled, Only the End of the World Again. We find a werewolf in Innsmouth who incidentally saves the world by stopping the arrival of the elder gods. It is an enjoyable read because of its comical aspects.

In the story, Red Goat Black Goat, by Nadia Bulkin, two well-off children on a farm estate learn the harsh lessons of the goat god, and why you should never scoff at its rules.

The Same Deep Waters as You, by Brian Hodge is a top story in the collection. A woman who is known as an animal whisperer is brought to a secretive Atlantic Island prison to assess the prisoners. The prisoners are the last surviving population of Innsmouth, deformed and fish-like, and unable to speak. They have begun a new ritual. They are all facing the same direction in unison towards the ocean. They are waiting for something. Something wonderful.

And then we have the story by Thomas Ligotti called Sect of the Idiot, which I had already read in his anthology, Songs of a Dead Dreamer, but was happy to revisit here. A man enamored by a small but unusual town unlocks a hidden cosmic horror. As his curiosity leads him into the malignant hidden underbelly of the town, he will forever become a participant in the madness. This is close to reading an actual story by Lovecraft if he were alive today. Ligotti has all the mannerisms, atmosphere and stylings of Lovecraft without ever feeling derivative and he rarely touches upon tentacles or Cthulhu things from the sea.

Next we have a Lovecraftian Southern Horror story, The Bleeding Shadow, by Joe R. Lansdale. This one connected with me because it incorporates music, blues specifically, and updated the old crossroads story. As always, Joe relayed the tale with a distinct character and a wonderful character voice.

There are some other high points in the book and some stories I liked less. As with all collections there are stories that you will favor. I’ve listed my favorite here and to me, these alone made Lovecraft’s Monsters worth a read.

available from

not part of the book but loved the art

not part of the book but loved the art…

parlor of horror book reviews

Deadfall Hotel – Book Review

deadfall hotel - temDeadfall Hotel – Steve Rasnic Tem
Solaris books

After tragedy strikes taking his wife, Richard Carter and his daughter, Serena attempt to rebuild their lives. Richard, answering an ad in the help wanted section, is called upon by Jacob Ascher, proprietor of the Deadfall Hotel to fill the job of caretaker. Under the guidance and training of Jacob, Richard learns the eccentricities and aberrations of the long forgotten hotel.

They discover the Deadfall to be a strange place where the horrors of the world go to vacation, retire and perhaps even to die. Richard and his daughter are faced with avoiding and sometimes combating serial killers, evil felines, angry spirits and other nasty entities that reside in the dark corridors of Deadfall Hotel. However, for Richard to truly learn anything he will have to revisit the darkest days of his own life, face the sinister Poolman and escape the blackened waters of the phantom pool that reach deeper than the foundations of the Hotel, itself.

The tale is unveiled as a series of events recorded by Jacob to detail the progress of training a new caretaker. It is easy to warm to the characters as Richard tries to protect his daughter and questions himself about bringing her to such a dismal place to live. Tem shows you the big picture by telling smaller stories which makes the journey interesting and less common than the usual novel. Dangers and conflicts ooze out of the cracks and corners, sometimes catching the reader by surprise and growing into frightening challenges.

For someone who is not a huge fan of modern novels, Tem’s writing is quirky enough to hold my attention. I enjoyed the story and had that melancholy feeling at it’s end; the feeling you get when you have grown fond of the characters and know you’re going to miss them.

Recommended if you like: The Shining, The Amityville Horror

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