Red Right Hand by Levi Black
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I wish there were separate stars for plot, characterization, etc, because I would rate this book higher than it is. In terms of plot, pacing, and atmosphere, it passes with flying colors. But there is one element of the protagonist's characterization I absolutely abhorred, and it damn near ruined the book for me.
This is another of the recent crop of Cthulhu Mythos reimaginings, but this author plays it completely straight. The hook is simple: “Imagine that one of Lovecraft’s Great Old Ones (in this case, Nyarlathotep) showed up at your door and said, ‘You work for me now.’ ” (From the back cover blurb) Needless to say, this book is bloody, gory, slimy, and overflowing with all sorts of bodily fluids, both human and alien. A strong stomach is required, and I would recommend not trying to read it during a meal. That said, if you can stand it, it is a fast-paced rocket ride, a dark Lovecraftian noir that I’m sure many people will like.
Gah. There is an absolutely unnecessary bit of characterization that made me angrier the further along I read in the book. The main character, Charlotte Tristan (Charlie) Moore, H.P. Lovecraft's great-grandniece, has a Tortured Past that includes gang rape. This, to put it bluntly, is gratuitous bullshit. I mean, for frak's sake, the basic setup (The Elder Gods fighting over humans and the planet) is quite fraught enough all on its own, without dragging in this disgusting bit of sexism that adds nothing to the character and the stakes. I am so sick of this trope. Anyone thinking about trying this book, be warned.
The book ends suddenly with the main plot thread unresolved, so expect a sequel. I'm not sure I will be reading it, though.
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