The Lovecraft Squad: All Hallows Horror Review

Title: The Lovecraft Squad: All Hallows Horror | Author: John Llewellyn Probert | Publisher: Pegasus Books | Pub. Date: 2017-3-7 | Pages: 336 | ISBN13: 9781681773872 | Genre: Horror | Language: English | Triggers: None | Rating: 5 out of 5 (LG) | 4 out of 5 (GK) | Source: Received a copy from the publisher for review consideration | Pre-order / Buy on Amazon


The Lovecraft Squad: All Hallows Horror

There has always been something wrong about All Hallows Church. Not just the building, but the very land upon it stands. Reports dating back to Roman times reveal that it has always been a bad place—blighted by strange sightings, unusual phenomena, and unexplained disappearances.

So in the 1990s, a team of para-psychiatrists is sent in to investigate the various mysteries surrounding the Church and its unsavory legends. From the start, they begin to discover a paranormal world that defies belief. But as they dig deeper, not only do they uncover some of the secrets behind the ancient edifice designed by “Zombie King” Thomas Moreby but, hidden away beneath everything else, something so ancient and so terrifying that it is using the architect himself as a conduit to unimaginable evil.

After four days and nights, not everybody survives—and those that do will come to wish they hadn’t. Imagine The Haunting of Hill House, The Amityville Horror, The Entity and The Stone Tape rolled together into the very fabric of a single building. And then imagine if all that horror is accidentally released . . . GoodreadsThe Lovecraft Squad Book Cover

(Lilyn’s Review)

The Lovecraft Squad: All Hallows Horror Review

This was a fantastic read that just kept getting better. It managed to creep me out, which (given the sheer amount I read) is surprisingly hard to do. The Lovecraft Squad managed to get me to the point where I had to stop reading one night. I was pretty sure one of the creatures was behind me, staring at me while I read it. And there was definitely too much eerie light in the room. (Regardless of the fact that I knew it was just my Kindle Paperwhite‘s illumination). It kicked my overactive imagination firmly into high gear. Finally, I had to start thinking about something else, or I wasn’t going to sleep. Period.

When The Lovecraft Squad first starts out, you have no inkling that it’s going to turn out the way it does. It opens with a bit of Poltergeist-esque action, and you think the mood is set. But then as you read on, you think maybe light mystery with a tinge of the supernatural. Mildly creepy, but nothing special. And then…then there’s a scene involving a swirling ‘snowstorm’ of maggots. You start to realize you’re in for something special at that point. John Llewellyn Probert has a talent for disturbing descriptions that rivals some of Stephen King’s best works. This is a book to sink into when you’re in the mood for a good bit of soul-dampening unease and paranoia.

(Speaking of paranoia, just as I wrote the above line, I noticed my cat was on the back of the couch, staring at me like she’d really like to add human female to her dietary requirements.)

The characters aren’t particularly fleshed out, but then again they don’t particularly need to be. The Lovecraft Squad is a horror/mystery that’s set in a world where the Lovecraft mythos is a (mostly) unacknowledged reality. Probert thrusts you directly into the action, and you don’t have time to think much about character development. I will say by the end of it I definitely liked Chambers, the main male protagonist, though. He had a level head that I couldn’t help but appreciate. Speaking of characters, there was only one point where I had a quibble with the book. It was more of a twinge of disappointment, really. One of the characters had an unexpected twist that saw me drawing a jagged line through my notes on “How nice it was to have…”  Ah well, nothing’s perfect.

Probert’s imagery sucks you in, and the action propels you along. This is not a book to read if you’re easily disturbed by vivid descriptions of gross, terrible, and/or unusual things. The Lovecraft Squad is, thankfully, also a book that can be read as a stand-alone. We need more books like that on bookseller’s shelves again, please. It’s a slower read, but a good one. I found myself going back and re-reading sections just to let it sink into my mind at times.  Overall, this is a book that I highly recommend for horror readers in general. Well worth the read. Every word of it.

Small Sci-Fi and Scary Divider

(GracieKat13’s Review)

 

First off I want to say that I love the cover artwork. It really puts me in mind of the older pulp horror magazines where Lovecraft and so many others got their start.

It seemed to me a mixture of Lovecraft’s Haunter of the Dark, a bit of reference to Hell House and BBC’s Ghost Watch program (which is very awesome, btw, I highly recommend it if you get the chance to watch it). It’s a mix that goes well together.

The author has a knack for describing scenes very well. I could visualize the scenes and the people. Even when I’d rather not because…maggots. and other creepy crawlies.

The first half of the book moves very quickly and kept me reading long after I should have been asleep. The middle half drags a bit with a lot of filler and not too much going on. However, the dialogue is interesting and the few things that do happen are creepy and keeps it from lagging too much. The third half revs up a bit and is highly entertaining with some very vivid descriptions.

There were some things, like the above mentioned, that mixed very well. There were some other things, however, that didn’t work for me.
Maybe it would for other people but the inclusion of Dante’s Nine Levels of Hell doesn’t really work for me. That’s not to say that it wasn’t a great section, because it was, it was very cool. And this might be being a bit of a purist on my part but since Lovecraft was an ardent atheist I don’t think it really meshes well. But, again, other people might not notice it as much.

The characterizations were done very well. Even the people I didn’t particularly like, such as Dr. Chesney, I still felt sympathy for.
However, I could not warm up to the reporter, Kate, much at all. Other people might, but dammit, she shouldn’t have snipped that string!! Yes, I can really hold a grudge, even against a fictional character.

The only other character I fluctuated on was the main character, Chambers. This isn’t spoiling much because it’s said right in the first few chapters. Chambers works for the HPL (I love the initials, btw), the Human Protection League with the C.I.D. (Cthulhu Investigation Division). But there are so many times that he shrugs off strange happenings, or says that the things he’s seeing are impossible and that he’s never seen or heard anything like this before. Shouldn’t he have, though? I think more background on this character and what he has and has not done would have gone a long way to clearing this up.

Regarding the end, there was a flip that I did not see coming and really surprised me. Although the ending, in general, was a tiny bit of a letdown. Not bad enough to ruin it but just a shade too easy. There was also one thing that I really did not get and it doesn’t get explained.

I would recommend it in general, but if you are well-versed in Lovecraft there are going to be some things that stand out a bit from the usual lore *cough*zombies*cough*. If this continues as a series I’d be interested to see where it’s going.