Hammers on Bone by Cassandra Khaw
Reviewed by Morgan K. Tanner
I’m kind of late to the party with this gripping and creepy novella, but after only the first few pages I was hooked. I then proceeded to devour this story like a madness-inducing Great Old One salivating for human sanity.
Lovecraft’s legacy is very much alive and well and this novella not only incorporated much of the mythos created by the great man, but also gave it a superb contemporary twist with splatterings of humour.
The plot is simple enough; a PI is hired by a child to murder his stepfather, as you do. But as our miserable yet witty protagonist begins to delve a little deeper, the case becomes more harrowing than he imagined.
Yes, the stepfather isn’t who everyone thinks he is, he’s not even human anymore. But what was refreshing about this story was that the PI isn’t some usual down-on-his-luck ex-detective stumbling upon secrets of creatures best left alone; he’s fully aware of exactly what he’s dealing with.
You may think that this would make the tale less scary or effective, but if anything it heightens the scares. And by the end it seems Mr PI Man doesn’t actually know everything, and there are some things that frighten even him. And that’s saying something.
As mentioned, I sailed through this novella, and this was down to the protagonist’s telling of the story. The words and dialogue just flowed perfectly, never allowing for any downtime. The whole story felt much grander than the relatively small amount of pages it contained; like reading the Necronomicon in pamphlet format.
So if you have a spare hour or two and fancy a different kind of Lovecraftian fix, then look no further.
Check it out!
About Morgan K. Tanner
Morgan K Tanner is a writer, drummer, and golfist currently residing in the English countryside. The idyllic surroundings make it an ideal place to write, drum, and hide the bodies. The busy sound of the typewriter is perfect to drown out the hum of the antiquated torture equipment.
When he’s not writing or inflicting pain and suffering on his numerous victims, he indulges himself in all things horror and metal.
His debut novella, An Army of Skin is available now.