The Time Eater.
French, Aaron J. (author).
Jan. 2017. 178p. JournalStone, paperback, $13.95 (9781945373367).
First published May 5, 2017 (Booklist Online).
Roger and James were best friends at Ohio State until the day they performed a ritual to summon an evil spirit known as The Time Eater. After that day their relationship, and their lives, were never the same again. After years out of touch Roger is asked to come to the bedside of a dying James, but instead of a wasting away cancer patient in James’ bed, Roger find the Time Eater, an all knowing, all seeing vast being that is fighting for control of both James’ and now Rogers’ souls. In this modern Lovecraftian tale, French uses well worn tropes to introduce his story and get it moving, but then just when you think you have read this one before, he bends and twists his story into something both original and shocking. This is a well paced, occult story, featuring solid characters, and just the right balance between description and action that is perfect for fans of cosmic horror or demonic possession tales. With the recent uptick both in quantity and popularity of Lovecraft inspired stories, The Time Eater will find many eager readers. Start by handing it to those who enjoyed The Ballad of Black Tom by LaValle or even fans of the classic horror author John Farris.
Further Appeal: As I noted here, novellas are hot and this, while not marketed as a novella, is the length of one and can be read in a single sitting.
The Lovecraftian trend is also not budging; in fact, it is only gaining steam, as you can see from just this one click. The Time Eater is a great, short way for people to dip their toes into the trend with a title that stays very true to the original inspiration.
French’s descriptions of the cosmic world opened up by the Time Eater is "awesome"- in the truest sense of the word. It is huge, expansive, and threatening. It will take your breath away. But French is also able to capture the claustrophobia and paranoia of Roger as he inhabits the very real Brooklyn home where most of the action unfolds. This juxtaposition alone is a compelling reason to read this book.
Three Words That Describe This Book: Lovecraftian, well paced, twists
Readalikes: Start with the readalikes in the review above, or use this link to see other recent Lovecraftian tales I have reviewed and recommended.
Last year, I reviewed an anthology French edited, The Gods of H.P. Lovecraft which was selected as a Booklist Top Ten Horror Book of 2016.
Two other authors who are carrying the torch of H.P. Lovecraft by publishing smart, original and thoroughly 21 Century cosmic horror are Laird Barron and Brett Talley. These are not rehashes like some of the popular titles coming out right now, rather the work of these two authors should be seen like the grandsons of the tales Lovecraft first wrote. Use these links to access the posts where I have written about Talley and Barron on the horror blog.