The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Tommy Tester is a hustler, doing what he has to to make ends meet and support his ailing father. When he meets Robert Suydam, things will never be the same...
I've always been a bigger fan of things inspired by H.P. Lovecraft than the man's actual work. It's certainly been a good few months for H.P. Lovecraft-inspired fiction for me. First, there was Carter & Lovecraft, then Lovecraft Country, and now this novella, the Ballad of Black Tom.
Victor LaValle has taken The Horror at Red Hook, called Lovecraft's most racist book by some, and turned it inside out.
Tommy Tester delivers a magical tome to an old woman, runs afoul of two detectives, and meets up with an old man bent on waking The Sleeping King from his dead and dreaming slumber. Needless to say, a lot happens in this slim book.
There was a viewpoint shift about halfway through. While I didn't think Malone was as interesting as Black Tom, the story couldn't have been told without him. LaValle does a fantastic job of capturing the Lovecraftian flavor of The Horror at Red Hook and makes it his own. I loved the ending of this book. Hell, I devoured the whole thing in one sitting.
4.5 out of 5 stars. I'll be watching Victor LaValle with great interest.
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