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That Which Should Not Be Paperback – October 7, 2011

4.4 out of 5 stars 180 customer reviews

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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."  -  DreadCentral.com

"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 - HorrorNews.net

"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

From the Author

"That Which Should Not Be, a novel written in the style of a Lovecrafting Cthulu epic, pays tribute to the dark scribe with a tale that could easily have been a continuation of At the Mountains of Madness, and indeed, reads like something Lovecraft wrote himself.  I went into the novel expecting a few references here and there, and an imitation of style and form, but ultimately, what I got was a multi-layered, engaging story told in an interesting way.  I would encourage fans of Lovecraft's fiction to check out 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, Hellnotes.com

"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, PisssedOffGeek.com

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 260 pages
  • Publisher: JournalStone (October 7, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1936564149
  • ISBN-13: 978-1936564149
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (180 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #790,186 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
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.
Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback

This Lovecraftian story is the debut novel of author Brett J. Talley and is one of the better first novels I've read. Talley's atmospheric style certainly doesn't feel like a first time writer and I was even more impressed with how frightening it was to read. It's not often I look up from a horror novel to peer around the room or through open doorways because of a strange noise or fleeting shadow I caught from the corner of my eye. This book caused me to do that and I'm not ashamed to admit it. It has some genuinely scary moments that surprised me and caught me off guard.

At just over a lean 250 pages, "That Which Should Not Be" has the feel of an epic, taking the reader into the deep woods on a hunting expedition, to a monastery, an insane asylum, and out to sea on a cargo ship. The format reminded me of Creepshow, with numerous stories tied together by a wraparound main story. I found each story to be quite captivating and realistic. Talley did a great job of just giving the reader enough information to maintain the suspense throughout each tale. I am definitely looking forward to reading more by this author and don't let the strong Lovecraft mythos scare you away. Lovecraft or not, it is very well written and dripping with atmosphere and should easily please fans and newcomers alike.
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Format: Paperback
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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