"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
From the Author
"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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While using the familiar touchstones of Miskatonic University, Henry Armitage and mention of the Necronomicon, Talley introduces his original character of Carter Weston, a contemporary of Armitage, during their college student days when Weston is tasked with retrieving another tome of dark knowledge ere it is used for ill purposes.
This hunt takes Weston to the town of Anchorhead, where he has cause to interview four men about their strange experiences which touch on his quest. Four novellas follow, each hearkening to the different sub-genre of weird fiction.
The first and perhaps the weakest in terms of the resolution was based on Blackwood’s tales of the untamed and haunted wilderness. The next stories are markedly better, taking our protagonists to an eastern European castle in the style of Bram Stoker’s Dracula and an insane asylum where the mundane can see the horrors veiled to the sane mind.
Finally, a doomed voyage at sea leads to a complete tour of the Cthulhu Mythos. Talley’s love for his subject shines through. The only weakness in my opinion being a few twists of the plot where the overarching plot, motivations and framing narrative seemed contrived to set up the novellas. Definintely give it a read.
Now let's be subjective - there's nothing original in here, but if you enjoy HP Lovecraft, Robert Bloch, etc., then I think you'll enjoy this. It doesn't have the urgency of some of Lovecraft's works, like Call of Cthulhu or The Haunter of the Dark, but neither does it have the (over)complexity of some other Lovecraft followers. It paints the overall narrative through the use of shorter tales, told to the protagonist by various supporting characters, none of whom are really developed outside of the autobiographical tales they tell, but that's fine - the tales themselves all weave together towards the final act of the book, and that's where my only real criticism of the book is. The final act feels *really* rushed as if Brett J. Talley had put so much work in, then realized one morning when he woke up that he needed to finish the book. I was stunned when I looked down at my Kindle and saw it telling me there was only 12 minutes left *in the book*; the whole story had been building to this point, and now it was going to be closed in 12 minutes???? How the heck was that going to work? Well... It worked. Sort of. Talley employs one of Lovecraft's tools by skipping over chunks of time to get to the action, and not adding anything extraneous. It's a shame, I've often wondered after reading Call of Cthulhu what R'lyeh would look like and wished Lovecraft had described it more, and I was hopeful Talley would add to this to with a description a little beyond the usual "not normal Euclidean geometry" with a weird turn of physics, etc., but alas, t'was not to be. I guess if I want to explore the corridors of R'lyeh and listen to the Nightgaunts wheeling through the stars while Nyarlathotep whispers sweet nothings in my ear I'll have to write it myself...Hmmmm....
The hunt for a book of ancient and evil secrets takes the book's protagonist on a quest during which he encounters several fascinating characters, each of whom has a terrifying story to tell. From a backwoods tale of the Wendigo to an eerie nunnery in an eastern European castle, from a snowbound Massachusetts insane asylum to a ghost ship, THAT WHICH SHOULD NOT BE touches on so many different facets of the horror genre.
It's extremely well written, with each tale possessing its own voice, and yet the central story of the quest for the ancient book is in no way lost. Lovecraftian overtones abound, but the author is obviously well informed on everything from medicine to ancient Egypt.
If you enjoy works of horror, this is the book for you.
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