Avenging Angela by Jonathan Thomas
Trade Paperback – Hippocampus Press – Oct 2021 – 252 pages
Jonathan Thomas, with his vibrant prose, his keen eye for human foibles, and his ability to generate an atmosphere of grisly terror, can take his place as a leading weird writer of this century. This sixth collection of his weird stories contains a wealth of narratives, long and short, that have made him one of the most acclaimed writers of supernatural fiction in the past two decades.
Thomas excels in the elaboration of themes and motifs found in the work of H. P. Lovecraft, and in this volume such tales as “The Once and Future Waite,” “A Box from Blackstone,” and “Avenging Angela” extrapolate upon both Lovecraft’s stories and Lovecraft himself as a complex and enigmatic figure. Several are set in Lovecraft’s hometown of Providence, R.I.
Thomas’s skill in the evocation of terrors from the remote past—whether it be the Neolithic age or the era of Romans and Celts—is exemplified in “The Shaman’s Smile,” “Nos Morituri,” “Flouting Pascal,” “After the Legions,” and “Grave Days in Skara Brae.” But Thomas doesn’t hesitate to infuse weirdness in contemporary everyday life, as in “The Uncanny Comeback of E” and “One Across.” The fusion of the ancient and the modern is at the heart of “Widow’s Walk,” “A Dip in the Bog,” “Lead On, Vergil,” and “The Muybridge Cocktail.”