Reviewed by David Brzeski
This is the eighth book to be published in C.J. Hendersonâ€™s TeddyÂ London series, although chronologically it’s book four, as the authorÂ is slotting some new ones in between the events of the earlier ones.Â Teddy London is different from most occult detective characters, in that he’s more inspired by the hard-boiled American P.I. characters, rather than the classic English consulting detectives. In the earlier books he takes on assorted demons, vampires and Lovecraftian nasties. He somehow triumphs in the end, but his victories always come at a huge cost in lives. No exaggeration here. I mean a HUGE cost in lives!
This is a book of two parts. In the first half, London has to fight a very powerful Lovecraftian being, and barely wins out. Fans of Henderson’s work will be happy to see guest appearances by one of his other regular characters, the mysterious psychometrist Lai Wan, and Doctor Anton Zarnak, a character originally created by Lin Carter.
In the second half, the big bad, who sent this problem to Earth simply because it amused him to do so, arrives in person. If you really want to know who the main villain is, you can find out by going to the shop page on Henderson’s website, where he’s mentioned in the blurb for the book. Personally, I would advise not doing so, as you’ll lose the fun of gradually realising who it is. All I’ll say here is that the identity of this character will put a smile on the face of Lovecraft fans.
What follows is a battle of truly cosmic proportions. The term â€œoccult detectiveâ€ no longer really fits Teddy London, who by this stage comes over as a cross between Philip Marlowe, Doctor Strange and the Silver Surfer.
Each of the new editions of the Teddy London series come with an extra short story as back up. In ‘A Perfect Moment’, an alien soldier drops in on a battle between Teddy London and three cosmic horrors. The story reminded me of some of the classic 60s science fiction comics I used to love.
This is a great page-turner of a book that left me wanting more. I’m looking forward to catching up on the rest of the Teddy London series and to further books that may be yet to come.