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That Which Should Not Be [Kindle Edition]

Brett J. Talley
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (137 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $12.95
Kindle Price: $6.00
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Book Description

*  2011 HWA Bram Stoker Finalist for superior achievement for a First Novel.
*  2011 GoodReads Choice Awards Semi-Finalist
*  Winner of the 2011 JournalStone horror writing contest.

Miskatonic University has a long-whispered reputation of being strongly connected to all things occult and supernatural. From the faculty to the students, the fascination with other-worldly legends and objects runs rampant. So, when Carter Weston's professor Dr. Thayerson asks him to search a nearby village for a book that is believed to control the inhuman forces that rule the Earth, Incendium Maleficarum, The Inferno of the Witch, the student doesn't hesitate to begin the quest.

Weston's journey takes an unexpected turn, however, when he ventures into a tavern in the small town of Anchorhead. Rather than passing the evening as a solitary patron, Weston joins four men who regale him with stories of their personal experiences with forces both preternatural and damned. Two stories hit close to home as they tie the tellers directly to Weston's current mission.

His unanticipated role as passive listener proves fortuitous, and Weston fulfills his goal. Bringing the book back to Miskatonic, though, proves to be a grave mistake. Quickly, Weston realizes he has played a role in potentially opening the gate between the netherworld and the world of Man. Reversing the course of events means forgetting all he thought he knew about Miskatonic and his professor and embracing an unknown beyond his wildest imagination.

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Editorial Reviews


"Four and a half suspenseful, frightening tales in one.  Talley is wonderful at crafting suspense, and each sub-story pays homage to a high theme of occult horror.  Plenty of suspense and chills to satisfy occult-horror fans." - Kirkus Reviews

"A spooky, atmospheric story that pays loving homage to its roots. Brett J. Talley is a man with talent, and this book certainly makes him an author to watch. Fast-paced, classy, and with some terrific prose, this is an excellent read for horror fans. Very highly recommended."  -

"That Which Should Not Be is a fresh, intelligent, yet traditionally told story....Well written and well edited, Talley's That Which Should Not Be draws you into a simpler time, where monsters are god-creatures best left alone by man."  Clayton Bye, Editor-in-Chief -- The Deepening

"Talley's odyssey into the unknown makes this tale a heart stammering page turner from beginning to end.  Talley's use of present, to past and foreshadowing rivals that of any successful commercial author in contemporary horror fiction. His characters are well crafted and personable."  Dave Gammon -

"That Which Should Not Be is a welcome addition to the ranks of the Cthulhu Mythos. It takes the originals seriously but at the same time feels free to take liberties with them as well. It is a pastiche but at the same time strives for--and attains--its own level of creativity...Highly recommended" -- Dr. Michael Collings, literary critic

That Which Should Not Be, which ends up not as a pastiche or knock-off but rather as a loving and dedicated tribute that presents a new story in another author's world."  -  Darkeva,

From the Author

"Recently Lovecraftian authors have been sending me their books to review.  Some are good, some are....not.  But the recently published That Which Should Not Be, by Brett J. Talley, is great.  In fact, it's one of the best Lovecraftian novels I have ever read, and I don't say that lightly.  And scary?  Author Brett J. Talley gets that right, too.  There are quite a few genuinely frightening scenes in That Which Should Not Be, both in the "tavern stories" and in the main plot.  I feel that a lot of writers get Lovecraftian horror wrong, but Brett J. Talley has expertly captured the dread and the moon that should embody a Lovecraftian story.  It's a great read.  Pick it up -- you won't be disappointed."  -  Mike Davis, Lovecraft eZine.

"Winner of JournalStone's horror novel writing contest, Brett J. Talley has written a wonderful homage to occult horror.  Each of the stories told to our protagonist is unique and scary by itself while adding to the overall atmosphere and theme of the novel as a whole.  Each character is nicely fleshed-out and their individual stories come together beautifully.  With references to Lovecraft, Stoker and even the Bible, That Which Should Not Be reads like the best 19th and early 20th century horror stories about the occult and ancient god-like monsters.  I look forward to reading more by Talley in the future. Highly recommended."  -  Colleen Wanglund, Monster Librarian

"Finally, it is easy to see why this first novel of Brett J. Talley's has received the notice and acclaim that have followed it, and That Which Should Not Be marks a welcome and stylishly enjoyable addition to the Lovecraftian Mythos as well as a promising and talented introduction of a new authorial talent to the horror genre in Brett J. Talley. I know that I, for one, will be looking forward with great anticipation to his next novel."   -  Norm Rubenstein, Horror World

"In Brett J. Talley's That Which Should Not Be I have to admit I think I've found one of the best homages to Lovecraft I have read. I'd go so far as to use the almost cheesy line that it's "a Love letter to the work of Lovecraft". Anybody with any interest in Lovecraft's work will recognise the style of writing and the on-going themes that Talley has pulled into the book." - Paul Metcalf,

Product Details

  • File Size: 441 KB
  • Print Length: 260 pages
  • Publisher: JournalStone (October 1, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005RR20RM
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #77,568 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Horror I have read in a long time. August 26, 2011
Carter Weston is a college student at Miskatonic University, where the fascination with legends and the occult run rampant.
One infamous book named the Incendium Maleficarum, The Inferno of the Witch resurfaces and Weston's professor and mentor asks him to procur the book for him and get it back to him immediately so that it can be locked away forever, Weston jumps on the chance to get the book for his professor.
His journey to find the book won't take him long in miles but the men he will encounter will tell him stories that will take him back in time to places in their lives that changed everything for them forever.
Carter is a non believer in all of the legends but can't help but be intrigued by their stories and notice the similarities.
During Carter's journey, his faith and beliefs will be tested.
Can a hand full of men overcome an unimaginable evil that has been lurking around since before man???
I can not even begin to describe to you how very much this book captivated me!
The very first page in this book piqued my intrest and it was very hard to put down.
I would have read this story in one sitting if real life weren't always interrupting me!
Brett Talley is a wonderful storyteller!
His depictions of places and events had me so fascinated that I even had to google some of them to see if they did in fact exsist.
That Which Should Not Be covers various legends and religious beliefs about the inevitable end of days and the unholy beings that will try to take over the world.
What made this story so chilling to me was the fact that Talley used many real legends and scriptures.
Unlike a lot of horror stories, Talley doesn't use gore to scare you.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad, but the ending was off. November 4, 2011
By Vulpine
Was a decent enough book, there was a few spots I was confused about when it was set, but that was minor. However, the ending took a left turn into Judeo-Christian beliefs...which kinda conflicts with the Cthulhu Mythos. But, on the other tentacle...stopping Cthulhu really does require a deux-ex-machina ending.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wickedly Delicious December 19, 2011
This is a read even non-horror fans will gobble up. I'm not one for exaggeration, but scout's honor: This was the most engrossing book I've read all year. I rarely put it down without picking it up again within the hour. I was immediately sucked into the rich detail, easy dialogue and suspenseful plot-line. I'm still not sure how Talley managed to so deftly maneuver in and out of so many different stories without losing me. But he did - with ease and mastery. At times he even had me (a born-and-bred-New Englander) convinced that Miskatonic University was a real place. All in all, a fabulous read from a promising new author.
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33 of 45 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars It fails in the ending, what a pity! August 22, 2011
I am a huge fan of HPL and I am currently re-reading and writing short reviews on everything he has written, so when reading this book it was very easy to compare.

The book is a collection of several stories told to a man in search of a powerful book. These stories have influences that range from Algernon Blackwood's The Wendigo to Bram Stoker's Dracula, all of them mixed with a good deal of the Cthulhu Mythos.

The way in which the stories are told, specially the structure, is similar to Lovecraft's but not so the writing style. Lovecraft's style is not for everyone as it sometimes can be a bit dense, but it is also very evocative and rich. It is a difficult style to imitate and, though at some points in the book Talley has tried to do so, it is a good thing that he has not tried to do it for the whole book.

It is not a very long book and the reader can be drawn to the different stories quite easily, they are fast-paced and entertaining. However, almost all the stories fail in the ending. The Cthulhu Mythos are dominated by the absolute certainty that whatever you do, whatever you believe in, the universe is a place without hope, so vast and cruel, so full of purely evil god-creatures that in the end nothing can save you. Not in this book. [spoilers]Here the christian god can save you and have the power to do so, even more, he was the one who defeted the Old Ones aeons ago (!)[/spoilers]. This is so far from what was written by HPL that I found myself losing my interest in each story as I progressed through the book. I could have forgiven it if it had happened once but no so many times, sorry.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Diversionary Read August 16, 2011
Brett Talley's book, That Which Should Not Be, is a well-formed and fully-thought-out pastiche of Lovecraft's work. As with any tribute to the Master, this work has its triumphs and its setbacks. The story, on the whole, is nicely done; what starts as an anthology quickly grows into a close-knit adventure story, and Talley is quite adept at capturing Lovecraft's voice and tone. For example, the narrative voice never changes from one story to the next; phrases are all to frequently repeated ("witch-haunted" stood out the most, but there were others) and everyone in the book sounds on the edge of a nervous collapse. All, in other words, is as it should be. Talley can turn phrases well, too: I was particularly pleased when one of his narrators, moving through the wards in an asylum, noted solemnly that "the heavy silence of the criminally insane was upon me."
Talley's side stories are also excellent riffs off of classic Gothic tales--the Unholy Monastery, the Thing in the Woods, the Cursed Treasure / Lost Knowledge, the Haunted Asylum--and at times one sees homages to Shelley, Walpole, Lewis, Stoker, Beckford, and even Melville. Sometimes these homages are a little annoying--after the introduction of Dr. Harker, I started looking for Captain Frankenstein and Dr. van Helsing--but most are excellent additions to the atmosphere. Overall, Talley's book is superb, marred only by a few printing errors (is he Vladimir or Valdimir?) and the utterly nonsensical moment when, surrounded by the noise of the insane, Dr. Hamilton remarks "I knew now why the old London Royal Asylum had spawned the term Bedlam."
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Some great stories in this collection.
Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read
The story's pacing is a bit uneven at times, but the overall story something that lovers of good horror will likely enjoy. Well written and very creepy.
Published 1 month ago by N. Nafpliotis
5.0 out of 5 stars Like stepping into an old horror film!
This is for lover of old B&W horror films. It has the mood and language of Hammer Horror. I enjoyed this book immensely.
Published 1 month ago by Flapjack
2.0 out of 5 stars Read real Lovecraft instead
This book is actually a series of short stories more than a novel. The first tale of a windigo is not at all Lovecraftian. The second one is more Satanist than eldrich. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Book Oracle
5.0 out of 5 stars I really enjoyed this book
I really enjoyed this book, although the end was a bit anticlimactic.
However it is a good Lvecraftian horror, perhaps the best starting point to get familiar with it.
Published 1 month ago by Arima
4.0 out of 5 stars Recommended
A very good Lovecraftian novel, one of the better I have read in a while. The story lends just enough from the lore, but also has its own voice throughout. Read more
Published 2 months ago by David Langbach
2.0 out of 5 stars Spoilers- this book is for Christians only
I was fairly taken by this book up until about halfway through. The writing was good, the stories were engaging, but it soon turned into some kind of evangelical christian... Read more
Published 2 months ago by J. Arthur
4.0 out of 5 stars Spooky, Atmospheric, and Gothic but not for Lovecraft purists
That Which Should Not Be by Brett J. Talley is an interesting bit of Post-Lovecraftian fiction. I dislike the term pastiche even if that is the best word for the continuing stories... Read more
Published 2 months ago by CT Phipps
4.0 out of 5 stars Lovecraftian Novel Hiits the Spot.
Brett Talley's novel manages to evoke much of the feel of Lovecraft's fiction, though his writing is rather better. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Lila Richards
5.0 out of 5 stars An ode to Lovecraft
I always adored reading H. P. Lovecraft at night - great gothic, shivery fun - this is a quite well done venture into that eldritch universe that Lovecraft created (or... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Guidanceguru
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More About the Author

A native of the South, Brett Talley received a philosophy and history
degree from the University of Alabama before moving to witch-haunted
Massachusetts to attend Harvard Law School. When people ask, Brett
tells them he writes for fortune and glory. But the truth is the
stories in his head simply refuse to stay put. Brett loves every kind
of fiction--from horror to literary to historical to sci-fi--as long as
there are fantastic characters with a compelling purpose. There's
still magic to be found in fiction, the mysterious and the unknown
still beckon there, and the light can always triumph over the
darkness, no matter how black the night may be.

Brett writes when he can, though he spends most of his time working as
a lawyer so that he can put food on the table. That is, until the air
grows cool and crisp and fall descends. For then it is football time
in the South, and Brett lives and dies with the Alabama Crimson Tide.
Roll Tide.

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