I Am Providence

I Am ProvidenceI Am Providence by Nick Mamatas
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Mamatas’s mystery novel takes place amid a convention of fans and authors inspired by H.P. Lovecraft, reminding this reader pleasantly of Sharyn McCrumb’s 1988 murder-at-an-SF-convention mystery BIMBOS OF THE DEATH SUN. (Mamatas seems well aware of the comparison, going so far as to reference McCrumb’s novel with a similar fictional book title within the narrative.) The characters are colorful and interesting, the murder is suitably grotesque, and the events in and around the convention are outlandish enough to keep your attention. Mamatas knows the subject matter inside and out, and his talent for pacing and detail continues to impress.

However, there’s a lot of inside baseball here, and if you’re not familiar with Lovecraft or convention culture this novel might not be for you. It is claustrophobic and air-tight in its humor and observations, and casual mystery readers may find themselves feeling like the one person at a party who doesn’t understand the joke everyone else is laughing at. While the prose is good and the novel is a fast, enjoyable read, its reliance on in-jokes and its willingness to sacrifice emotional involvement in favor of archness prevents it from being as memorable, to this reader at least, as it ought to be.

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Your email address will not be published.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