cover image Carter & Lovecraft

Carter & Lovecraft

Jonathan L. Howard. St. Martin’s/Dunne, $25.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-250-06089-1

This refreshingly original novel updates the eldritch horrors of H.P. Lovecraft for the 21st century. Dan Carter, a New York cop turned PI, heads to Providence, R.I., to claim a windfall inheritance from an unknown benefactor. That inheritance includes Hill’s Books, an antiquarian bookstore run by Emily Lovecraft, a descendant of the great horror writer. (Her African-American heritage may be a sly nod to recent discussions of Lovecraft’s racism.) Shortly afterward, Dan and Emily cross paths with William Colt, a student at local Clave College, whose mathematical savvy has given him access to the Twist, a perceptual portal to the Lovecraftian otherworld of cosmic horrors. Their confrontation proves to have been engineered by master manipulators with their own cosmic agenda, which Howard (the Johannes Cabal series) reveals gradually through the intercession of members from one of Lovecraft’s quasi-human families. Howard sometimes makes explicit ideas that Lovecraft more effectively suggested, but his novel shows a thorough understanding of Lovecraft’s conceptual horrors and features an ending that cleverly bears out those concepts. Agent: Melissa Chinchillo, Fletcher & Company. (Oct.)