For a while now, I’ve been asking Lovecraftian authors, editors, and critics about their favorite Lovecraftian short stories. I thought it would be fun to ask some of those same people about their favorite Lovecraftian novels.
First up is Matthew Carpenter. Matt says:
I decided to exclude novels that I love but that are already widely known and highly regarded among mythos fans. This includes some of my very favorites such as The Croning by Barron, The Fuller Memorandum by Stross, The Red Tree by Kiernan, and Radiant Dawn by Goodfellow. Instead I am only including works that deserve to be more widely known, with accomplished prose, clever plotting and great Lovecraftian sensibilities. Mostly I think the mythos works best in the short story form but these novels prove me wrong.
Here are my recommended Lovecraftian novels (click titles to purchase):
Where Goeth Nyarlathotep, by Daniel Reiner – Self published in 2005 on Lulu.com, this caught me completely by surprise. Most self published mythos fiction is quite poor, and yet here is a novel that stands up to the best of the genre. Robert Adderly is a student of mathematics enjoying a quite evening with his girlfriend when she suddenly combusts spontaneously. His efforts to discover why takes him to places totally unexpected.
Worse Things Waiting, by Brian McNaughton – I am cheating here of course. To best appreciate this you really have to read the preceeding novel, Downward to Darkness and that leads you to McNaughton’s first mythos novel, Gemini Rising. Anyway, I don’t know how anyone could not be impressed by the McNaughton’s deft plotting, gallows humor, great characters and believable dialogue. What an ending!
The Midnight Eye Files: The Amulet, by Willie Meikle – So..you think you know Meikle based on a few short stories? The Midnight Eye Files is his best work, and The Amulet is pure mythos. Derek Adams is a down on his luck £250-per-day-plus-expenses gumshoe in Glasgow, what little time he isn’t chain smoking he spends getting drunk. In walks a knock out dame with a case and it is trouble (it always is isn’t it?)!
The Drums of Chaos, by Richard Tierney – Richard Tierney’s concept and vision for The Drums of Chaos is nothing less than breathtaking. It is perhaps the most brilliant premise for a Cthulhu mythos novel ever. The sweep of his research and mastery of the background material just puts me in awe. For this I forgive him the execution of the material which is less successful. Also be aware that you can’t make sense of this without reading Robert Price’s spoilerific introduction.
Delta Green: The Rules of Engagement, by John Tynes – So, you kind of want to get into Delta Green but don’t know where to start? Look no further than the best work in the whole subsubgenre, John Tynes masterful novel of suspense and espionage. Overlook the fact that FBI agent Matt Carpenter is needlessly gunned down.
14, by Peter Clines – Brilliant in so many ways, plotting, characters, prose, but what really blew me away was the underlying concept. It is a fiendishly clever book.
A big “thank you” to Matt for his recommendations! — Mike Davis