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I Am Providence: A Novel
     

I Am Providence: A Novel

by Nick Mamatas
 

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An author's murder during an H. P. Lovecraft fan convention reveals dark secrets beneath the printed page in this biting murder-mystery satire.

At the Summer Tentacular, murder is non-fiction.

For fans of legendary pulp author H. P. Lovecraft, there is nothing bigger than the annual Providence-based convention the Summer Tentacular. Horror writer

Overview

An author's murder during an H. P. Lovecraft fan convention reveals dark secrets beneath the printed page in this biting murder-mystery satire.

At the Summer Tentacular, murder is non-fiction.

For fans of legendary pulp author H. P. Lovecraft, there is nothing bigger than the annual Providence-based convention the Summer Tentacular. Horror writer Colleen Danzig doesn’t know what to expect when she arrives, but is unsettled to find that among the hobnobbing between scholars and literary critics are a group of real freaks: book collectors looking for volumes bound in human skin, and true believers claiming the power to summon the Elder God Cthulhu, one of their idol’s most horrific fictional creations, before the weekend is out.

Colleen’s trip spirals into a nightmare when her roommate for the weekend, an obnoxious novelist known as Panossian, turns up dead, his face neatly removed. What’s more unsettling is that, in the aftermath of the murder, there is little concern among the convention goers. The Summer Tentacular continues uninterrupted, except by a few bumbling police.

Everyone at the convention is a possible suspect, but only Colleen seems to show any interest in solving the murder. So she delves deep into the darkness, where occult truths have been lurking since the beginning of time. A darkness where Panossian is waiting, spending a lot of time thinking about Colleen, narrating a new Lovecraftian tale that could very well spell her doom.

Skyhorse Publishing, under our Night Shade and Talos imprints, is proud to publish a broad range of titles for readers interested in science fiction (space opera, time travel, hard SF, alien invasion, near-future dystopia), fantasy (grimdark, sword and sorcery, contemporary urban fantasy, steampunk, alternative history), and horror (zombies, vampires, and the occult and supernatural), and much more. While not every title we publish becomes a New York Times bestseller, a national bestseller, or a Hugo or Nebula award-winner, we are committed to publishing quality books from a diverse group of authors.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
07/11/2016
A conscious corpse relates the events leading up to his murder at the Summer Tentacular H.P. Lovecraft convention in Providence, R.I., in Mamatas’s (The Last Weekend) humorous but sometimes meandering horror mystery. Antagonistic narrator Panossian, hated by many in the Lovecraft fan community, was found dead with his face missing. Just before he was killed, he was meeting someone who had offered to buy his copy of a rare book bound in human skin. Panossian’s convention roommate, Colleen Danzig, searches for his killer among the event’s eclectic and neurotic attendees: control freak convention organizer and Lovecraft scholar Bhanushali, racist Cthulhu cosplayer Ronald Ranger, drag queen Ms. Phantasia, stalker groupie Chloe, and Cthulhu cultist and chauvinist Norman. She also meets Thomas, the night coroner, who likes to doodle Lovecraft creatures. Things get weirder when Colleen and bookseller Hiram Chandler follow Bhanushali to dig up Lovecraft’s dead cat, whose name is a racist slur. When Bhanushali’s lieutenant, Charles Cudmore, is found dead behind the hotel, detective Antony Amato suspects a serial killer. Mamatas provides a heartfelt homage to Lovecraft lore, perfectly captures the antics of conventioneers, and comments on the cutthroat politics of online publishing and the recent discussions of Lovecraft’s bigoted views. However, chapters of the deceased Panossian waxing nostalgic divert the action, and Colleen’s sleuthing involves too much speculation and too little delving for solid answers. (Aug.)
From the Publisher
“While the novel places one foot in Lovecraft’s oeuvre, Mamatas revels in the unfurling tentacles of his narrative, which is a many-toothed, many-eyed beast all its own.”
B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog, “The Best Horror Books of 2016”

“Mamatas is sharp but fair, never mocking Lovecraft fans, but pulling the veil reveals the complexities of fandom for the late writer.”
The Verge, “The 11 best science fiction and fantasy novels of 2016”

“A great choice for readers who enjoyed Matt Ruff’s Lovecraft Country; those who liked the dark humor, mystery, and speculative elements in Ben H. Winters’ The Last Policeman trilogy; and anyone who has ever been part of a fandom. The story takes an honest look at Lovecraft’s troubling legacy of racism and sexism and how it comes into play during this current revival in his popularity, but you can also feel Mamatas’ true affection for the author and the larger community of misfit horror authors.”
Booklist, starred review

“Just what I'd expect from Nick Mamatas: sharp wit, biting but humane social commentary, and, for the romantics among us, a faceless narrator decomposing at the morgue.”
—Matt Ruff, author of Bad Monkeys and Lovecraft Country

“Dark and hilarious. . .I am Providence is that murder-mystery-in-a-writers-convention you didn't even know you wanted, but (like the human skin-bound book which propels the plot) you really must buy.”
—Lavie Tidhar, author of Osama and The Violent Century

"The central murder mystery is enjoyable enough, but secondary to the laugh-out-loud skewering of convention culture, complete with mansplaining panelists, petty writer feuds in the dealer’s room, and the distinct odor of unwashed socially awkward nerds living in close proximity for a weekend celebrating their favorite (admittedly racist, overwrought) author. Mamatas doesn’t treat Lovecraft like a sacred cow and the ugly aspects of his worldview don’t get glossed over."
Tor.com

“Mamatas provides a heartfelt homage to Lovecraft lore, perfectly captures the antics of conventioneers, and comments on the cutthroat politics of online publishing and the recent discussions of Lovecraft’s bigoted views.”
Publishers Weekly

“Anyone who has ever skirted the world of obsessive devotees will find a lot to enjoy in this funny homage to horror and its leading practitioner.”
Library Journal

“Mamatas knows his subject inside and out, and that makes I Am Providence all the more cutting. He's a fan himself, as well as a skeptic, and he turns his considerable authority and satirical skill toward skewering the subculture that's grown up around Lovecraft over the past century. . . . I Am Providence is pointed social commentary wrapped in a bilious in-joke—but one that's more than worth getting in on.”
—Jason Heller, NPR

“An astonishingly timely book . . . The murder-mystery-at-a-convention is a venerable subgenre. The best of them combine solid mystery stories anyone can enjoy with a dash of in-jokes, cameos, and thinly veiled versions of figures in the field to assume those in the know. I Am Providence is among those best.”
Locus

“Its title taken from the epitaph on Lovecraft's gravestone, I Am Providence is vintage Mamatas: funny, compassionate, creepy, and satirical as it dramatizes the absurdities of fandom, publishing, and literary criticism.”
East Bay Express

“This meta novel comes at the perfect time: Lovecraft is an author whose reputation has been under intense scrutiny lately, and it looks like a read that will be a perfect take on his legacy.”
The Verge

“If you’re looking for a wacky summer beach read with a dose of horror and you love Lovecraft, I Am Providence will satisfy your abyss of cravings—with some hilarious and pointed jabs at Lovecraftian fandom.”
Fangoria

I Am Providence ended up being a smart, entertaining and truly one-of-a-kind experience, darkly funny and unexpected. Not to mention, very tentacle-y. I look forward to more from Nick Mamatas.”
The Bibliosanctum

"Mamatas's latest book is dark and funny, a fantastic mix of horror and mystery. It pokes fun at tropes—both meta or otherwise—and successfully skewers some of the more ridiculous aspects of the publishing industry."
—LitReactor

“Such a smart and fun book . . . it is very chilling, but the mystery is solid . . . This is a book that you need to add to your collections."
—RA for All
"This is a book that you need to add to your collections and hand-sell A TON!!! It will be a crowd pleaser."—RA for All, Top 10 Horror Novels of 2016

Library Journal
08/01/2016
Novelist Panos Panossian is attending the annual Summer Tentacular horror convention in Providence, RI, when he is murdered and his face sliced off. That doesn't keep him, however, from being one of the narrators of this satirical salute to horror master H.P. Lovecraft. The other is first-time attendee Colleen Danzig, who had been rooming with Panossian to save money; after his death, she begins investigating her fellow attendees. Could one of these barely socialized, zine-publishing, Cthulhu-obsessed fans be a killer? While a knowledge of Lovecraft and his work might heighten enjoyment of this novel, any familiarity with rabid fandom will do. The men (and a few women) who show up for the small convention may be easy to mock, but horror writer Mamatas (The Last Weekend) does so with an insider's understanding. Having Panossian's disintegrating consciousness tell half the tale draws out the suspense of the murder mystery, but it's Colleen's chapters that more effectively move the story along. VERDICT The reveal of the killer takes a while, but anyone who has ever skirted the world of obsessive devotees will find a lot to enjoy in this funny homage to horror and its leading practitioner.—MM

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781597808354
Publisher:
Night Shade Books
Publication date:
08/09/2016
Pages:
256
Sales rank:
215,955
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.90(d)

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Meet the Author

Nick Mamatas is an author, editor, and anthologist. His novels have been translated into German, Italian, and Greek. His work has been nominated for Bram Stoker, Hugo, World Fantasy, Shirley Jackson, International Horror Guild, and Locus awards. Mamatas lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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