The Ballad of Black Tom

The Ballad of Black TomThe Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A hundred stars! A thousand! LaValle beautifully, masterfully, excitingly retells the events of H.P. Lovecraft’s 1927 story “The Horror at Red Hook” from the point of view of an entirely new and original character. But what sets THE BALLAD OF BLACK TOM above your average Lovecraft homage or pastiche is that it is vibrantly and passionately in conversation with it — interrogating it, responding to it, at times even refuting it.

I’ve loved everything LaValle has written. His oeuvre flirts with the horror genre to varying degrees — the catalog of faux horror movies in THE ECSTATIC, the supernatural investigation in BIG MACHINE, the creature stalking the psychiatric hospital in THE DEVIL IN SILVER — but THE BALLAD OF BLACK TOM is his most straightforward genre piece, and therefore his most accessible for new readers. And my hope is that it brings LaValle many, many new readers, because his work is consistently outstanding.

I can’t recommend THE BALLAD OF BLACK TOM highly enough. A familiarity with “The Horror at Red Hook” adds an extra layer to the tale but isn’t necessary for your enjoyment. Like all great works, THE BALLAD OF BLACK TOM stands on its own.

View all my reviews

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 

 

News & Updates

  • 09/17/2020 — Harrow County, Vol. 2: Twice ToldHarrow County, Vol. 2: Twice Told by Cullen Bunn My rating: 5 of 5 stars Emmy’s long-lost twin sister Kammi visits Harrow County to meet her sister and claim her power, setting off a dark chain of events that turns the haints against Emmy.…Read more »
  • 09/09/2020 — Underworld DreamsUnderworld Dreams by Daniel Braum My rating: 5 of 5 stars This is Daniel Braum’s best collection yet, filled with stories that exhibit a masterful sense of ambiguity and explore the tension between the personal and the profound.…Read more »
  • 08/28/2020 — Harrow County, Vol. 1: Countless HaintsHarrow County, Vol. 1: Countless Haints by Cullen Bunn My rating: 5 of 5 stars A fun, fast-moving setup to what I expect will be a highly enjoyable series, COUNTLESS HAINTS combines writer Cullen Bunn’s masterful use of atmosphere and setting with artist Tyler Crook’s vibrant watercolor illustrations to create something truly compelling.…Read more »
  • 08/26/2020 — Survivor SongSurvivor Song by Paul Tremblay My rating: 5 of 5 stars Paul Tremblay steps away from the ambiguous, maybe-supernatural horror novels he’s been writing over the past few years to present a realistic tale of survival amid a scientifically-based epidemic.…Read more »
  • 08/11/2020 — The Scariest Part: David Mack Talks About THE SHADOW COMMISSIONThis week on The Scariest Part, I’m delighted to host my good friend David Mack, whose latest novel is The Shadow Commission, the third volume in the Dark Arts series. …Read more »

Archives

Search