I Am Providence

Nick Mamatas (The Last Weekend) is funny and macabre, and flirts with tentacled elements of the supernatural in his sixth novel, I Am Providence. Visiting historic Providence, R.I., for the first time to attend a conference on H.P. Lovecraft, horror writer Colleen Danzig has more than a little bit of trouble making friends with her peers. The devoted Lovecraftians are an insular bunch with friendships and grudges that span decades.

This tempest in a teapot makes investigating the grisly murder of Colleen's roommate for the weekend, the novelist Panossian, all the more difficult, especially since everyone seemed to have beef with him, and no one seems to care that his face was removed or that the motive seems to be tied to a book of stories bound in human skin.

The police suspect Colleen, and so it's up to her to find the real killer. If only the magically cognizant murder victim could remember just who did it. Or do anything, really, except lie on the slab in the morgue narrating.

Rich with irreverence about the notoriously anti-Semitic Lovecraft and the pulpy horror genre he spawned, I Am Providence is as much a send-up of solipsistic literary zeal as it is an offbeat murder mystery. Even readers who don't know their Elder Gods from their Alchemists are sure to find enjoyment in Mamatas's wacky collection of characters, or his black-humored digs at literature's perennial racism and misogyny problems.

Not your average whodunit, I Am Providence dances over genre lines, while giving a firm, playful tug on Cthulhu's mouth of many tentacles. --Dave Wheeler, associate editor, Shelf Awareness

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