The Weird Company by Pete Rawlik, Night Shade Books, p/b, £10.99/Kindle, £6.64, Website
Reviewed by Dave Brzeski
This is the second book in Pete Rawlik’s ‘The Secret History of H.P. Lovecraft’s Twentieth Century’ trilogy. I reviewed book one, ‘Reanimators’, here. In fact, according to the introduction, this is the book he really wanted to write first. The problem being that one of the characters he really wanted to use, Herbert West, simply didn’t fit his timeline. This led him to take Doctor Stuart Hartwell, a minor character in Lovecraft’s ‘The Dunwich Horror’, and expand on his story, which became volume one of the series— ‘Reanimators’.
As for the rest of the Weird Company, they consist of as unlikely a bunch of heroes as you’ll ever see: a witch, a changeling, a mad scientist, and a poet trapped in the form of a beast. In fact Pete Rawlik turns a lot of the accepted wisdom of Lovecraftian fiction on its head, as villains become heroes, and a famous FBI raid is revealed to have been less of a good idea for humanity that it was previously considered.
For those who are interested, the main stories referenced in this novel are: ‘At the Mountains of Madness’, ‘The Thing on the Doorstep’, ‘Through the Gates of the Silver Key’, ‘The Case of Charles Dexter Ward’ and ‘The Shadow Over Innsmouth’, all by H.P. Lovecraft. Plus ‘Who Goes There?’ by John W. Campbell, Jr. Observant readers may well recognise a sly reference to Jules Verne’s ‘Journey to the Centre of the Earth’ too.
Indeed, there’s much of Jules Verne, not to mention Conan Doyle, H.G. Wells and Rider Haggard in this story of adventure, science fiction and horror, which ranges from the back streets of Innsmouth to the frozen wastes of Antarctica.
Pete Rawlik has a unique talent for weaving a story that encompasses various works of H.P. Lovecraft and others, yet still producing a gripping tale that will still satisfy readers who are unfamiliar with those tales. I can’t recommend this book highly enough.