Top critical review
H.P. Lovecraft's League of Extraordinary Outsiders vs The Shoggoth Menace!
May 19, 2015
The overall idea is a pretty great one: HP Lovecraft's League of Extraordinary Beings vs The Shoggoth Menace. Tying together too many loose ends left by Lovecraft to easily keep track of, "The Weird Company" sets the stage for the "Mythos Resistance Forces" to counter looming cosmic horrors, be they Elder Beings, shoggoths, Hounds, the Yithians, or the psychotic and undead Re-Animated. I fear saying anymore might venture into spoilers, but all the traditional Lovecraftian locales are visited and/or mentioned, as well as pretty much all the major players and sides.
Mr. Rawlik is obviously a Lovecraft scholar and has done a great deal of research to flesh out this novel. I've read pretty much everything HP wrote and even I had to Google some of the more obscure characters but they were there. Several more prominent characters were mentioned but did not appear directly, leading me to believe that there is a series building here (hopefully).
Though the existential angst and noir tropes are all present, this is really more of a dark adventure story in the vein of Robert Howard, or even Doyle, than HPL. Weird, violent (at times grisly) and almost totally devoid of any human intimacy whatsoever, but still: there is quite a bit of humor and the 'heroes' of the Company can at least affect some change against the 'villains.' This group isn't Lovecraft's typical 'victims' as they have all already had their initial run-ins with the Mythos and survived. Now they must band together against the looming menace of the torpid but awakened shoggoths.
Sounds like I liked it, right? Well, I did. So why only three stars? Eh, I'd give it 3.5 if that was an option. As with most e-books, it suffers from some pretty glaring technical and grammatical errors, though much fewer than most. Further, there were some plot threads that appeared to lead somewhere really interesting only to hit a wall and never be revisited. Again, perhaps indicating a long term series brewing, but there are ways to account for that. I will certainly be interested in following Mr. Rawlik further down this path.
For: Fans of Tarzan, Sherlock, Conan and Solomon Kane; HPL; Pulp and Weird literature; Laird Barron; Joe Lansdale; the Shadow and Doc Savage; and Stuart Gordon's version of the Mythos.
Maybe Not For: Mythos Purists (if you can't keep an open mind, you'll only be disappointed). And if you enjoy this, check out "The China Town Death Cloud Peril" and/or "Move Underground." Other great novels with a lot of similarities.