It’s no big secret that I’m a tremendous fan of Jonathan L. Howard’s writing. His Johannes Cabal series (click here for my review of one of the books, and here for a review of a short story – the only reason why I didn’t review gushingly each book and story in the series is that I don’t want to seem like the crazed fangirl that I am.)
Carter & Lovecraft is a completely different book. For the first half or so of it, if I didn’t know who had written it, and you told me it was the same guy, I’m not sure I would have believed you. This is rather impressive – Howard’s style is intelligent and readable, and his books are not all the same. Not a combo often seen.
Whereas the Cabal books are almost pure fantasy, this one is more of a hybrid. It starts out as a relatively normal detective story, beginning with a suicide, a serial killer, and a mysterious inheritance. It ends up in the land of fantasy/horror, no where close (I hope) to reality. Dan Carter is a police detective whose partner mysteriously (and in Carter’s presence) kills himself with a smile on his face after a brief conversation with a serial killer who has committed suicide-by-cop. Carter resigns from the force and becomes a PI, but the out of character death of his partner continues to haunt him. The police aren’t interested in the unanswered questions about the serial killer, since the case is closed, but Carter is. When he suddenly inherits a book store in Providence, Rhode Island from a relative he didn’t know he had, things start getting weird. Coincidences and probability quit obeying the mathematical rules they are supposed to, people drown where no water exists, and strange places are even stranger than they first appear.
It’s a real page turner, the mystery to be solved can’t be solved using pedestrian earthly means, and it will creep you out like the best of Stephen King. Howard has a huge vocabulary, and while his words are precise, they are also somewhat obscure, along with the literary references, making this a relatively high brow affair.
I read it in three days. I couldn’t stop.
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Lori B. Duff is an award-winning author who practices law on the side. Her latest book, “If You Did What I Asked in the First Place” was awarded the Gold Medal for humor in the Foreword INDIES awards in 2019. You can follow her on Twitter at @LoriBDuff and on Facebook. For more blogs written by Lori, click here. For more information about Lori in general, click here. If you want Lori to do your writing for you, click here. If you want Lori to help you market your book, click here.