The Lovecraft Squad: Waiting
Created by: Stephen Jones; various authors
Published by: Pegasus Books
Reviewed by Marissa Harwood
THE LOVECRAFT SQUAD: WAITING is a collection of stories in which various writers detail the history of The Lovecraft Squad (otherwise known as the Human Protection League, or HPL). The HPL is a secret division of the FBI tasked with combating supernatural activity in the United States. Each story in this collection deals with some sort of strange happening—from nightmarish mermaids to monsters made of human corpses to murderous automobiles—and each story leaves the reader feeling unsettled.
This collection includes both a prologue and an epilogue. The prologue, written by Angela Slatter, is a poignant narrative of Howard Lovecraft’s early life. She details his lonely existence in a house where fishy things are certainly happening, and a moment of tragic violence when he understands how his own family relates to the
paranormal world. The epilogue is shorter, less detailed, and serves to set the stage for the third book, DREAMING.
The chapters are all short stories, connected broadly by the context of the world. Some of the stories are more specifically connected, while others could stand alone. Each writer brings a unique style to their contribution. While some readers may find this diversity distracting, it gives the greater story more depth and keeps the book
The stories are all well written, and they each start with a clear hook that makes the reader curious to see what happens next. Some of the stories are solid all the way through: the characters are rounded and real, the plot is dynamic, and the monsters are fascinating. However, like with most collections, this is not true of every story,
and readers should pick up this book knowing that the quality is a little inconsistent.
Perhaps the best crafted stories are the two written by Reggie Oliver, “Ec’h-pi-el” and “The Armies of the Night.” These stories feature Lovecraft as a character and describe his time working with J. Edger Hoover to assist the HPL. The dialogue in these stories is crisp, humorous, and a downright pleasure to read. Oliver also breaks the
traditional narrative form and incorporates other kinds of text, like diary entries and FBI reports, to create a pseudo-epistolary experience. This adds complexity and allows the reader to experience other perspectives.
THE LOVECRAFT SQUAD: WAITING is an enjoyable glimpse into a diverse alternative world. While some stories feel closer to a hard-boiled detective novel than horror, the authors incorporate just enough creepiness to keep the reader looking over their shoulder.
Be sure to check out our review of the first book in the Lovecraft Squad series “All Hallows Horror” right here: