Review of Carter & Lovecraft by Jonathan L. Howard

Carter & Lovecraft

Carter & Lovecraft

With so many Mythos related tales out there, I’m usually incredibly picky about the stories I read. I always prefer the mythos full length novels. So, when I saw Amazon recommending Carter & Lovecraft to me, I decided to give it a chance.
What’s it about?
Daniel Carter used to be a homicide detective, but his last case-the hunt for a serial killer-went wrong in strange ways and soured the job for him. Now he’s a private investigator trying to live a quiet life. Strangeness, however, has not finished with him. First he inherits a bookstore in Providence from someone he’s never heard of, along with an indignant bookseller who doesn’t want a new boss. She’s Emily Lovecraft, the last known descendant of H.P. Lovecraft, the writer from Providence who told tales of the Great Old Ones and the Elder Gods, creatures and entities beyond the understanding of man. Then people start dying in impossible ways, and while Carter doesn’t want to be involved, he’s beginning to suspect that someone else wants him to be. As he reluctantly investigates, he discovers that Lovecraft’s tales were more than just fiction, and he must accept another unexpected, and far more unwanted inheritance.
What do I think?
Full Disclosure: I listened to the audio book while driving all over the state of Iowa.
That being said, my thoughts are entirely on the story itself. It was simply fantastic. Carter is a believable character in a world that is essentially our own. The mythos and the magic of it are described in a manner that is both awesome and not overly complicated. The descriptions explain the nature of the mythos as both science and magic (in true Lovecraft fashion), lending itself toward mathematics for some and an understanding of shifts in perception for others.
Carter inherits a bookstore from a mysterious benefactor and everything about the inheritance is odd to the point of shady, but Carter is in a dark place and accepts his new bookstore. In it, he meets the descendent of Lovecraft, a woman named Emily, and together they find themselves drawn into a world of murder, magic, and secret cults.
What I loved about this book was the mixture of modern day reality with Lovecraftian horror and pulpy detective novels. It was a romp through adventure and suspense that didn’t leave a taste of the mundane or familiar. It used old ingredients to make something new and exciting. The villain was well written and felt believable and, at the same time, entertaining. This is one of the few books that I didn’t feel myself clamoring for the return to the narrative of the protagonist, as the villain always kept me very engaged.
I give this book 5 out of 5 stars and encourage you to pick up a copy immediately.
As for the audiobook, the voice work was brilliant, and I thoroughly enjoyed the different inflections used for the different characters. My only negative thing is that they left a very “not-part-of-the-narrative” cough at about 80% through the audiobook. Other than that, it was very well done.

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