Those who loathe H.P. Lovecraft’s work will find something strange and wonderful in Emrys’ deeply felt, humane reimagining here, just as those who still revere his books will find a fascinatingly original take that brings tremendous depth to the old stories. Emrys works in and around the likes of Lovecraft’s The Shadow Over Innsmouth and The Thing on the Doorstep in a way that makes those stories feel much more like part of the history of the America we know, and both her understandably wary protagonist and the wonderfully vivid scenes of magic are exceptionally compelling.
Aphra Marsh and her brother Caleb are the only survivors from the population of Innsmouth, who were all forced into a camp by the U.S. government and slowly extinguished. Now Aphra has a good life on the west coast with a Japanese family held at the same camp, and a job in a bookstore where she finds someone willing and able to practice the old magics with her. Going back to New England seems both painful and pointless, but the unusually open-minded Agent Spector of the FBI needs her help at Miskatonic University, and the reluctant Aphra may find something entirely unexpected in the last remains of her past: a new motley family. (TOR, Apr., 368 pp., $25.99)