Review: The Lovecraft Squad: All Hallows Horror

There has always been something wrong about All Hallows Church. Not just the building, but the very land upon it stands. Reports dating back to Roman times reveal that it has always been a bad place–blighted by strange sightings, unusual phenomena, and unexplained disappearances.

So in the 1990s, a team of para-psychiatrists is sent in to investigate the various mysteries surrounding the Church and its unsavoury legends. From the start, they begin to discover a paranormal world that defies belief. But as they dig deeper, not only do they uncover some of the secrets behind the ancient edifice designed by “Zombie King” Thomas Moreby but, hidden away beneath everything else, something so ancient and so terrifying that it is using the architect himself as a conduit to unimaginable evil.

After four days and nights, not everybody survives–and those that do will come to wish they hadn’t. Imagine The Haunting of Hill House, The Amityville Horror, The Entity and The Stone Tape rolled together into the very fabric of a single building. And then imagine if all that horror is accidentally released . . .

The Lovecraft Squad: All Hallows Horror by John Llewellyn Probert. Created by Stephen Jones. Published by Pegasus Books, March 2017. 377 pages.

I picked this book from the library late last year because I needed a book with the word “love” in the title for my Popsugar 2019 Reading Challenge. Man, oh man did I look and look and LOOK for the whole year trying to find a “love” title that didn’t make me want to vomit in my mouth. Sorry, I’m not a big romance fan and so many books with “love” titles just sounded ultra cliche and gushy and no thanks. So yeah, it was the end of the year…. I was running out of time…. so maybe it was a little bit of a stretch with this title being LOVEcraft instead of just LOVE. I didn’t care though. 😛 I wanted to finish the damn challenges and this was one of the last few I had to accomplish! XD So here we are!

I knew nothing about this book or the author and creator. The cover really drew me in. Very atmospheric and intriguing. When I looked up about this book later, it was a little confusing….? I guess it is a spin off or tie in to someone else’s series about a zombie apocalypse or something? I don’t really know. There is a book 2 for the Lovecraft Squad, but apparently it takes place in a different era and with all whole different set of characters? Again, I don’t really know.

I do know that I didn’t have trouble following along with what was going on in this story. Whatever tie ins or series or WHATEVER is going on, it didn’t seem to hurt me being able to follow along. All Hallows Horror makes a great stand alone book if you just want to start and stop with this one.

I absolutely love the setting. Some creepy, ancient, abandoned church out in some remote part of England. Lots of bad history. Lots of bad juju vibes. Dark. Ominous. A very palpable tension from the first page to the last. The author ties in a lot of historical events and people to this church and it was very fascinating to watch where the author was going with everything.

The premise was also a lot of wicked good fun. Agh! I want to say more but it is very hard to say too much without giving it away! Sorry! I will say this… the setting, the premise… all of it was an epic homage to the late, great, Italian film writer / director Lucio Fulci, especially the movies City of the Dead and The Beyond. Both movies are part of Fulci’s Gates of Hell trilogy…. so…. yeah. If you know those movies and, more importantly, like those movies a lot… you need to read this book. I think you would enjoy this one just as much as I did!

I did have a few small hiccups with the book that really kept me from giving this a top rating. First of all, from about 60% til almost the very end, we start meandering through all these different areas. Again, I can’t say too much without spoiling it for you, but… while these different locations were interesting, there were way too many. Back to back. To back. With no breaks. It felt like it was a never ending loop. Point A, to point B. Now point C and then D. Cool locations, cool things going on… but.. I don’t know… it started to feel a little too slow because all these things are thrown at you but it is just too much and it feels like it leads nowhere. I know it wasn’t filler, but it almost had that sort of feel to it. It made some pretty cool stuff feel more tedious than cool.

My other problem is that the main character is an American. From the US. Not just an American living in the UK, but like legit he just flew over from New York American, ok? The problem is that he used a pretty decent amount of UK (or at least British) slang. I could understand picking up slang of a different country if you’ve been there for a while, definitely if you are living there…. but it was just hard to believe this guy is just picking up slang AND using it right off the bat like that. Ok, see, I know some basic British slang… Torch = flashlight. Trainer = sneakers. Fag = cigarette. Ect. I know these words. If I was taking a trip over to Britain, would I automatically think to call those things that? No… I wouldn’t! I would just automatically shout out my every day USA term for those items. So, this guy just automatically switching into British slang, with not even a peep about “Well that is a weird way of saying …..” or “where I come from _____ is this…” or whatever. His cadence was different as well. He had a much more reserved British gentlemanly way of phrasing his sentences. It was just off. He felt like just another British character in this group of British characters. You would have never known he was American if he hadn’t kept telling us.

This is such a big pet peeve of mine. It really is. I know it’s a minor thing in the grand scheme of things, but it just snaps me right out of the flow of the story. 😡 I can forgive a lot of “bad” writing. Hell, if I’m entertained and the book is fun, I normally could care less about what kind of grammar or vocab or depth or plot or whatever you have or DON’T have in your book… But misplaced slang. UGH! 😡 NO! Stop.

Other then those two things, I really did like this book a lot. I would not mind looking into book two and whatever the other series is that this book ties into or spins off from or whatever. I was pretty entertained and it had a gloriously gothic vibe that was so nice and creepy. I would definitely recommend giving this book a try.

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