cover image Book of Death and Madness

Book of Death and Madness

John Haas. WordFire, $38.99 (306p) ISBN 978-1-68057-402-9

Haas’s follow-up to Cults of Death and Madness continues the harrowing adventures of Doctor Archibald Shaw and his death-defying efforts to prevent the eruption of Lovecraftian horrors on the earthly plane. It’s 1885 and Shaw and his loyal young ward, Singh, have returned to London from India, having sent ahead a statue of the monster Cthulhu that holds all who possess it in its malignant thrall. That idol is the means by which the two hope to track down the cult leader Ananya, who has fled to England ahead of them in possession of the dreaded Necronomicon, a book of spells that she hopes to use to open the door to “ancient, evil gods.” Haas does a superb job of evoking the dark side of Victorian England, referencing the crimes of the legendary Hellfire Club, the Whitechapel murders attributed to Jack the Ripper, and other notorious historical events. Though the over-the-top finale parochializes Lovecraft’s cosmic horrors somewhat, the novel still satisfies as a well-wrought supernatural thriller. Fans of paranormal period pieces will be pleased. (Apr.)