Genre: Horror – Fantasy
Series: Stand Alone
Publisher: Tor (July 26, 2016)
Length: 304 pages
My Rating: 3 stars
Lovecraftian horror. Gore-ban fantasy. Label it whatever you will, Red Right Hand is a dark fantasy/horror hybrid, which takes its characters into shadowy, terrifying places where they confront unspeakable things the human mind was not created to deal with. Certainly not for the squeamish, Levi Black’s novel will keep you flipping pages even as you attempt to control your nausea at some of the things you behold. And what, I might ask, is more fun than that?
Charlie Tristan Moore is our main point of view character in this tale. One night she returns home, unwanted memories of a childhood trauma spinning through her mind, only to find an even worse horror awaits her: three demonic skinhounds. These creatures attack her, coming close to killing her except for the timely intervention of a mysterious Man in Black.
But sometimes your savior is worse than your tormentor, and that is true for Charlie. For the Man in Black turns out to be none other than Nyarlathotep, aka the Crawling Chaos. This ancient divinity having chosen Charlie as his acolyte — whether she likes it or not. And just to make sure she cooperates, Double C has her best friend Daniel tucked away as a hostage.
But what could Nyarlathotep want with a mere mortal like Charlie? Well, it is simple really: he wants to kill two other elder gods and needs an acolyte to aid him. Not that he is promising Charlie anything good for her help. Nope, all she can count on is horrific creatures and scenes of terror, as she follows in the Crawling Chaos’ footsteps, fulfilling his will; her own horrific past continuing to bubble to the surface at every step, threatening to sever her tenuous hold on sanity.
Now, Red Right Hand is at its core a horror story. Levi Black’s writing style perfect in conveying the frightening otherworldly creatures and gory, violent scenes. His description narrative surprisingly deft at weaving an atmosphere of controlled terror. Charlie an amazing victim to see dealing with these nightmares. The slow unveiling of her sexual abuse as a child a cancer which slowly grows within her mind and a readers until it pulses like a throbbing pustule of infection needing to be lanced.
That does bring up my only quibble with the book however: Red Right Hand is a horror story. Sure, there can be arguments made it is an urban fantasy with blood and violence turned to max, but any such rationalization is trying to explain away the obvious, which is this is a horror in the Lovecraftian style but with even more (At least, in my opinion) terrifying scenes and graphic weirdness. Nothing wrong with that at all. It is merely a fact all prospective readers should realize before they buy the novel. Much like inquiring whether a new urban fantasy is more romance than fantasy. (And we know there are a lot of those out there right now.)
Creepy. Shocking. Horrifying. Never dull. Red Right Hand succeeds in spectacular fashion in upholding the Lovecraftian horror legacy. Sure to please every fan of dark, horror-infused fantasy, this is a thrill ride not to be missed.
I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review. I’d like to thank them for allowing me to receive this review copy and inform everyone that the review you have read is my opinion alone.