Thursday, October 20, 2016

Black January: A Spectra Files Novel - by Douglas Wynne - Modern Lovecraftian horror at its finest

5 of 5 Stars     Review copy

Black January is the sequel to Douglas Wynne's Red Equinox which made my top ten list of favorite reads from all of 2015. The new work works well as a standalone novel, but if you haven't read the first book in the series, you are really missing out.

Both books deal with much of the mythos created by H.P. Lovecraft, a world which continues to inspire writers for nearly a century.  While I personally find the works of Lovecraft to be a difficult read, I love his ideas and there are some  modern day authors continuing the tradition with great success.  Brett J. Talley's That Which Should Not Be and He Who Walks in Shadow, come to mind.  And certainly, Douglas Wynne falls squarely into that same category.

Central to the story in Black January is the Wade House, built by renowned candle maker and rumored witch Caleb Wade in 1782.

Photographer, Becca Phillips, is called upon once more by SPECTRA, a clandestine government agency charged with protecting citizens from things we're better off not knowing about.  She's important to the team because she has EDEP (Extra Dimensional Entity Perception).  She can see the things others can't.

The author does a fine job of catching the reader up on the first story through a combination of conversation and exposition, without coming across as preachy.

Douglas Wynne has actually manged to combine the best elements of a haunted house story with a heavy dose of Lovecraftian horror and the result is a remarkable piece of fiction.

If you read Black January keep an eye out for the Stu Redman reference.  That made me smile.

Even though this story manages to tie up all of the loose ends, there is a scene which nicely sets the stage for another book in the series and I already want to read that one, as well.

Strongly recommended.

Black January is published by JournalStone and is available in paperback and e-book formats.

From the author's bio - Douglas Wynne is the author of the novels The Devil of Echo Lake, Steel Breeze, and Red Equinox. He lives in Massachusetts with his wife and son and a houseful of animals just a stone's throw from H.P. Lovecraft's fictional town of Arkham.

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