The House of the Toad

Hermetic Library fellow T Polyphilus reviews The House of the Toad by Richard L Tierney.

This Lovecraftian romp is set in the Midwestern Quad Cities area around the date of its publication in 1993. Tierney does a fine job of tying together occult horror and conspiracy adventure on a Cthulhu Mythos base, and provides some genuine creepiness along with even a tiny bit of genuine philosophical reflection.

The occultist elements are well-informed, with the Elder adage about the stars being “right” given a generous heaping of astrological detail. The chief villain J. Cornelius Wassermann (!) uses a mutation of the Law of Thelema, and claims that “What Aleister knew he learned from me.” And the integration of the Chambers-derived King in Yellow features is handled with unusual skill and sensitivity, in contrast to their role in e.g. Derleth’s Cthulhu stories.

The House of the Toad deploys many of my favorite genre tropes, so I give it the fetishistic thumbs-up for bizarre dream sequences, maiden sacrifices, a weird mansion, an unreliable protagonist, and pervasive paranoia. [via]