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Arkham Horror: Ghouls of the Miskatonic

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  • Posted August 8, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Gone with the Wendigo

    hen I first saw this novel, I was pretty sure that it was going to be another role-playing game tie-in novel. I was pleasantly surprised. While the beginning is a bit slow, once we get past the introductions of all the characters the action begins to pick up. It turns out to be a well-written novel that could very well have been written without the Arkham Horror imprint. As you may well learn if you've read one or two of my reviews, I'm a fan of horror author H.P. Lovecraft. Of course that's a bit like saying that Cookie Monster from Sesame Street appreciates an after dinner treat. So I gave into my addiction and was rewarded for it. Dang! That's gonna make it harder to quit!

    One of the things that made this novel a bit better that others of its ilk, is that McNeill isn't a "cosmic name-dropper." Many tales of Lovecraftian horror are simply litanies of various vowel challenged names of gods and monsters. One novel which shall remain nameless, and no, the title is not "Nameless" or "The Unnameable" or "The Great One Who Must Not Be Named" (speaking of which look for a short video called "Professor Peabody's Last Lecture" part of the Night Gallery TV series from the 70's). Anyway the novel I was talking about before the rambling started spends most of its time listing the names of demons, monsters and gods created by HPL and his correspondents. Now this body of mythology behind the story is what helped make HPL and the others that wrote to and with him create a rich environment for the stories that they wrote, but many modern day authors think that if you say "Cthulhu" you've just written a Lovecraftian story. McNeill rises above this, OK, so he does mention Cthulhu by name, but that's not what he uses to justify his claim of Lovecraftian horror. This novel breathes of atmosphere of suspense and fear that has nothing to do with which Lovecraftian creature or dark deity he invokes and more about what he doesn't say about them and how helpless the characters seem in the face of these extra-dimensional horrors.

    McNeill also uses a large cast of characters. He is somehow able to use all of them to great effect without relegating any of them to a secondary role, although the student named Amanda does seem to get the damsel in distress card in the third act. Each of the other characters seems to get some depth to their characterizations. However, I feel like the character of Rita, who's a black female student on an athletic scholarship, from New Orleans and knows about voodoo, is a bit stereotypical. This is not the sole defining feature of her character though and she's developed from the very outset on different grounds, the touch about experience with voodoo seems a bit tacked on.

    One more bit of praise for this novel. No gratuitous sex. I'm sorry, I know it's frowned upon, but I'm glad to see that there were no heaving bosoms, no passionate assignations in the velvety darkness, and know angsty inner monologues on how all-encompassing someone's love for someone else was and how it was threatening to sweep them away in a sea of doubt, fear and confessions of adoration from deep within the pit of their soul. Sorry, I'm male, and let's face it no one who is not between the ages of 12 and 17 acts that way. There was some sexual tension between the reporter character and his photographer, but while it was evident that there was interest both ways, the shutterbug didn't need him

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2011


    Its a good read. It fits the Lovecraft universe.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 10, 2013

    pathetic attempt by a mediocre (at best) "author". Can

    pathetic attempt by a mediocre (at best) "author". Cant believe mcneil thought he could add his name to the pantheon of REAL suthors who honor the great Lovecraft. Mcneil, just stop, go back to writing about your one dimensional ultramarines for the black library. how you convenced those guys to let you write is truely baffling.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 10, 2013

    A little too much language. What old authors didn't do (Lovecraf

    A little too much language. What old authors didn't do (Lovecraft) -- modern day authors can't seem to avoid.
    Sort of like people just being less classy now - said really.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 28, 2012

    Good grief

    Haven't finiished it yet but wiill force mysself cause i pald waaaay too much for this pos. I thought this wrote for the black libbrary
    Silly me

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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