Our old friend Darkendale Raven posted a review of The Damned Thing on Amazon.com – let’s see what he had to say:
Something Wicked This Way Comes…
5 out of 5 stars
I must start by saying this one is a trifle more R rated that Barry’s usual PG13. What makes this a great story is that Barry weaves the scenes into the story so that they do not interfere with the action. This is what would happen if a pulp hero was allowed to be more human, and subject to the desires that other men or women might normally have. It works for this tale.
The story begins in the Nevada desert as Professor Carter Slade and his assistant Eloise Green discover a strange hollow artifact, a man’s face in a rictus of horror. There is something inside the reliquary, something that seems to draw Professor Carter like a homing signal. He opens the artifact that night, and descends stairs built for much shorter people into the depths of the earth.
Meanwhile in Atlanta, Violet Cambridge is just waking up. She finds two men in her bedroom, neither of which seems the type to trust. What Violet does trust is the .45 caliber Smith and Weston Hand Ejector II pistol under her pillow. They are agents of a certain Mr. Armitage, who accuses Violet of stealing from him. He had stolen the money himself from the orphan’s fund. Both men are killed in the ensuing scuffle.
The reader learns that Violet’s husband Walter has been dead three years and that she wears only black clothing. Her friend Miles Knopf is more than a little in love with her, but she is not looking for a lasting relationship just yet.
The Damned Thing is a statuette discovered in the Nevada dig. Professor Carter has gone insane just by being in its presence. So apparently has Eloise Green. The Statuette belongs to the world of the Elder Gods, the Great Old Ones of the Lovecraft Mythos. It must be destroyed before it infects others. But the statuette has fallen into the hands of occultist Johann Berkard and his toady, Lazlo Bane. And a huge foe joins the them: Aleister Crowley, self proclaimed Wickedest Man in the World…
Violet has been told of a local Hell-mouth that exists on an island inside a mental institution of bad reputation. Others also seek the statue and will give anything to get their hands on it. The showdown is at hand, and who will survive is not a given thing.
This book is a thrill ride of pure pulp from the moment you board at page one until the thundering crescendo of the climax! Barry’s carefully chose prose is designed for every word to make the reader want to ride this roller coaster again and again!
I give The Damned Thing five out of five stars. As always, I’m looking forward to more action from Barry’s heroes.
Quoth the Raven…
Thanks, as always, for the in-depth review, Raven! I had a lot of fun writing this one and you’re right, it’s definitely more adult than I usually go for. Not quite as out there as Rabbit Heart but still… definitely an R-rating, I’d say. Glad that the themes and presentation worked for you!