Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Book Review: Southern Gods, by John Horner Jacobs

Southern Gods    5/5 

1950s, the deep south. Hardboiled noir meets the Memphis blues and eldritch Lovecraftian horror. If any of those words ring your bell (or induce skittering waves of nauseous-yet-pleasurable horror), you must read Southern Gods right now.

Get ready to welcome the Old Ones to the bayou, when elusive blues player Ramblin' John Hastur releases a record that curdles the soul and calls to those that wait in the gulfs between the stars. Enter Bull, a damaged private dick in search of an A&R man gone missing while trying to sign Ramblin' John, and Sarah, an attractive lady with a gruesome family secret and an occult library to die for (who among us doesn't want a peek at the illustrated Necronomicon?), and you'll get an idea of what's in play in John Horner Jacobs' mind-blowing debut novel.

Needless to say, if that first paragraph is gibberish to you, or if appalling violence and obscene ancient rituals put you off your feed, please don't read this book. (There's also a smattering of sex, including a monumentally repulsive scene involving a kind of group possession, as well as lots of smoking, drinking and playing the blues, which you probably won't care for either, you prude.)

On the other hand, if you appreciate tight, literate prose seasoned with a great deal of thoroughly ooky splatter, look no further. Southern Gods made my Best of 2011 list: Horner brings a complicated era vividly to life and at the same time adds an original, dark, and swampy-foetid breath of air to the Lovecraft-inspired new weird.

You have been warned.

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