A former cop delves into the supernatural when he’s teamed with one of H.P. Lovecraft’s descendants to solve a crime.
Detective Dan Carter’s biggest case is his last: his partner blows his own brains out after they’ve apprehended a serial killer. Unnerved, Dan leaves the force and turns private eye. His eminently predictable caseload is dominated by assignments to follow cheating husbands—until a lawyer turns up and tells Carter that someone named Alfred Hill has left him a bequest that turns out to be a bookstore in Providence. Carter finds this strange, since he's never heard of Alfred Hill. The bookstore is staffed by Hill's niece, Emily Lovecraft, whose other ancestors include the master of supernatural horror. Emily, who hasn’t seen her uncle Alfred for seven years, certainly hasn’t anticipated an ouster from her place as owner-in-absentia. No worries: Dan takes a shine to Emily and promises to share bookshop responsibilities with her, though he soon gets wrapped up in a local case of his own. A college professor seems to have drowned in his car without a drop of water in sight. Stumped, local police are ready to write it off as an idiopathic asphyxiation. But Dan can’t stop thinking about it, especially because the last number the professor’s phone called was his own. He’ll have to open his mind to a world beyond what’s in front of him if he hopes to solve the professor’s murder.
Fans of the original Lovecraft will have their rewards—Cthulu (spoiler alert) makes an appearance—but this series debut from Howard (Nightclubbing, 2015, etc.) shines brightest when keeping to his characters’ easy banter and creepy deaths.