There is a special place in my heart for both Secret Histories and Eldritch Beings, and Austin Grossman’s Crooked ticks both those boxes very neatly. The twist? Crooked is the story of the rise and fall of Richard M. Nixon, the 37th president of the US.
It’s quite a trick to take on the voice of such a well-known and often reviled figure as Nixon, let alone make readers sympathetic towards him, but that’s just what Grossman does. Never does the prose bog down in squamous Lovecraftian verbiage, yet H.P.’s influence runs strongly through the story. Of particular note is just how much of the lurking horrors of the world are left just at the edge of the page, with readers getting only fleeting glimpses at the things in the shadows. I’ve seen some readers complain about this, but I found it to be a powerful part of the story, as the horrors I can imagine are all the more insidious than what any writer can explicitly describe.
This book was 100% my jam, and I hope that you like it, too.
Buy Crooked on Amazon and support sporadic blogging!
Also, happy Halloween. To celebrate, as is only right, I want to give you some scary stories.
Archive.org has a nice, nearly-complete collection of H. P. Lovecraft’s stories on audio, available to download for free, right now. (Okay, okay, I know, listening to an audiobook isn’t actually reading in the strictest sense, but there are lots of folks who talk bout “reading” an audiobook, when they mean that they’ve listened to the book, and this way you can get your scare on during your commute, even if you drive, walk, or bike to work or school.)
Second, I’d like to plug Space Eldritch II: the Haunted Stars, which you can now get as an ebook (and, if it’s anything like the first volume, will eventually be available in paper as well). I absolutely loved the original–it had fantastic atmosphere and a great collection of authors–and this one looks to have more of the same (I haven’t yet dived in to my copy). Space Eldritch II is available on Amazon and Smashwords.
Finally, here’s my pumpkin version of Lovecraft because, you know, Halloween.
Howard P(umpkin) Lovecraft.