BENEATH THE MOORS AND DARKER PLACES

Brian Lumley, Author . Tor $24.95 (384p) ISBN 978-0-312-87694-4

This volume of workmanlike shorter fiction from Lumley collects nine early, largely Lovecraft-inspired pieces by the British author of the popular Necroscope series (Necroscope IV: Deadspeak, Forecasts, Oct. 29, etc.). Such homages to H.P.L. as "Dagon's Bell," "Rising with Surtsey" and a long-out-of-print short novel, Beneath the Moors, reflect the master's narrative technique and subject matter, though in style they owe more to the plodding pastiches of August Derleth, Arkham House's founding editor and Cthulhu Mythos promoter. Yet one should note that the author is not fixated on the Mythos or purple prose, as witness "The Sun, the Sea, and the Silent Scream," which uses the same Greek islands setting as "There Are No Sharks in the Mediterranean," a tale that appears in a companion story collection, The Whisperer and Other Voices (2001). "The Fairground Horror" is a classic juxtaposition of something grisly with a cozy environment, while "A Thing About Cars" draws on the author's experience as a British army military policeman. If like his mentor Lovecraft, Lumley has only a modest gift for characterization, he also, like the Providence gentleman, exhibits a real, often compelling sense of place. Some of the stories have been available only in versions edited to the point of mutilation, and it's good to see them restored to their proper form. Although this is a distinctly mixed bag, it's definitely worthwhile for its intended portion of the horror audience. (Feb. 15)

Reviewed on: 12/17/2001
Release date: 02/01/2002
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 384 pages - 978-0-312-87837-5
Ebook - 384 pages - 978-1-4299-1330-0
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