Red Right Hand by Levi Black
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
When Charlie is saved from some skinless dogs by the Man in Black, her savior proves to be worse than the threat, for he is Nyarlathotep, the Crawling Chaos. Nyarlathotep has selected Charlie to be his acolyte and she has no choice in the matter...
As I've said before, I'm more interested in fiction influenced by HP Lovecraft than stories penned by old Howard himself. Red Right Hand fits the bill.
For all intents and purposes, Red Right Hand is some extremely gory urban fantasy. Charlie wins the cosmic horror lottery and winds up enslaved by Nyarlathotep. It seems old Nyarly wants to bump off two other Elder Gods on earth and have humanity all to himself. As Charlie serves the Crawling Chaos, her tortured past comes back to haunt her.
Levi Black's writing has some punch to it and is way more accessible than HP Lovecraft's. He weds cosmic horror, splatterpunk, and urban fantasy into a package that feels natural but nauseating at the same time. I also love that he worked HP Lovecraft into things as a character, much like Jonathan Howard did in Carter & Lovecraft.
Gods living among humans has been done before, as Charlie herself remarks, but I don't think much has been done with the Elder Gods in human form. The Man in Black takes Charlie and her friend Daniel on a tour of the Cthulhu mythos underground as he searches for his prey.
Charlie felt like a passenger in the story for the first fourth of the book but things picked up after that. I had a feeling where things might go but the final battle was still pretty crazy. The Sushi Priest and everything involving him was more than a little sanity blasting. The ending left things open enough for more Charlie Tristan Moore adventures, something I'd definitely be up for in some strange aeons.
While it wasn't the best mythos-influenced fiction I've ever read, Red Right Hand was still pretty bad ass. I'll be on the lookout for more Charlie and more Levi Black in the future. 3.5 out of 5 stars.
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