Review: Red Right Hand and Black Goat Blues

TL/DR: Read ’em for some exciting mythos-inspired action.

Red Right Hand and Black Goat Blues are the first two novels in Levi Black’s Mythos War trilogy. I stumbled across them at my local library and thought “It’s been years since you read any Cthulhu stuff, why not give it a go?” Man, I am glad I did. Warning – if you are looking for a traditional mythos novel, these are not the books for you. Black clearly loves the mythos, but he takes everything Lovecraft did and flips it on its head.

First of all, the mythos gods of this universe are nothing like the unknowable, alien beings we all know and love. Nyarlathotep is terrifying, but he is also petty and vindictive. I actually felt sorry for mighty Cthulhu and Shub-Niggurath at points in the novels. These beings are knowable, we understand their designs. Sure, they’re intent upon screwing up the world, but we can grasp why they want to do it. They feel more like the gods of ancient Greece than the eldritch beings Lovecraft described.

Second, humans are important. Our myths and legends play an important role in this universe. Nyarlathotep wears the skin of a flayed archangel and uses the knife with which Abraham planned to sacrifice his son. Powerful sorcerers have captured elder gods and use them for nefarious purposes and even the Crawling Chaos needs help to overcome such foes. Finally, the lead character, Charlie, grows during the course of the story and is able to go toe to toe with the “big bads” at the end of the first book.

Finally, these stories are fast-paced and action-packed. Events happen at a frenetic pace. The fight scenes are great and the gore is, well, pretty gory. The chapters are short and I found myself reading “just one more” way too many times. Heck, I finished Black Goat Blues in two nights!

I highly recommend these books and cannot wait for the next one.

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