Author: Adrian Cole
Publisher: Alchemy Press with Airgedlámh Publications
Date published: September 6th, 2014
Category: Weird fiction, short stories, detective, modern pulp, Lovecraftian, cthulhu mythos
Nick Nightmare Investigates is a solid collection of detective/Cthulhu Mythos stories. These tales idealize the pulp fiction genre, with heroic characters that could have jumped out of a Golden Age comic book. While Cole is not the first author to write about a private eye that battles creatures from the Cthulhu mythos, his stories are well-written and readable.
Nick Stone AKA Nick Nightmare, hard-boiled New York private eye, is not afraid to knock heads together to solve a case. Nightmare does have morals, and he looks out for his friends, who are a strange and supernatural bunch. The world is filled with Lovecraftian baddies lurking around every corner, and in other planes of existence. Nick Nightmare often saves the day but doesn’t rid the world of evil, which remains to shamble another day. Nick retains enough sanity to keep his job.
While each story can be enjoyed independently, there are villains, artifacts, and characters that appear in numerous tales. Stories often refer back to previous adventures. I usually skip around to the titles that most intrigue me when reading a short story collection, but I realized that it is best to read these tales in order.
The collection starts off with “Please Allow Me to Introduce Myself.” Nightmare battles bad guys who are working through a famous blues musician. Readers of John Horner Jacobs’ Southern Gods will find this a familiar plot line. There is enough of a difference to make this an enjoyable read.
While these yarns are flawlessly written, I ran into some of the issues I have with this type of genre fiction. I didn’t get much of a feeling of suspense, because I know the private eye always wins, and it is no different with Nick Nightmare. Some of the humanoid villains are similar; tall and craggy with immaculate suits and megalomaniacal plans. The creatures, on the other hand, are described well and are pretty creepy. Some monsters come straight from the Mythos while others appear to have slithered out of author’s vivid imagination.
In the preface, the British author states that he had a friend help him remove the Anglicanism’s from the work. I did find a reference to British tea time that I had a hard time imagining a NY detective referring to. However, I probably would have preferred the author kept in all of the British colloquialisms. That would have been more interesting to me than New York, which I am very familiar with. I don’t know how many gumshoes hail from England, though.
Overall, this was a very enjoyable read! I liked the character Nick Nightmare the more I read about his exploits, and felt a bit sad when I came to the last story. I would recommend this to any fan of the genre.
*I received a copy of the ebook in exchange for an honest review of this title.