By Gary Fry
Pub. Date: October 25, 2016
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
I don't know If Lovecraft understood what a rich tableau he was creating with the Cthulhu Mythos when he first started putting his ideas to paper. Even in the 21th century, horror writers still find new things to add and embellish to the Lovecraftian universe.
Gary Fry is one of the newer writers in the ever-growing Lovecraftian Circle, so to speak. Almost all of the books he has written have clear Lovecraftian elements if not thoroughly entrenched. Siren of Depravity is full blown Mythos with the Old Ones threatening to emerge into reality. Harry Keyes, a college professor with a wife and daughter gets a phone call from his estranged brother Dexter. His brother always seemed a bit off in some very disturbing ways and some of it starts to make sense when he tell harry why he wanted to see him. it also helps Harry understand their abusive father and why his father focused that abuse more on Dexter than Harry, the older brother. Harry goes on a quest for the truth and the terrors that accompany that truth are not far behind.
Nothing supernatural or Lovecraftian shows up until about a third into the book. The author spends that time giving us a portrayal on Harry and his family that set up the tensions. This is what makes Siren of Depravity his best novel to date. It is as much as a family drama as a horror novel and Fry has melded both together quite well. Again we see quite a bit of influence from fellow Lovecraftian writer and Britisher Ramsey Campbell. This blending of suburban domesticity and academia is noted in Fry's other works but it really stands out here. When we do discover the "skeletons" in the Keyes family, they are revealed to us a little at a time to let the terror build up. The end is quite powerful but it is also open-ended enough to take the fear and the angst with us.
As stated, this is so far the best of quite a few novels I have read by the author. It has one of the nicest build-ups I've read in this genre and has elements of true terror. Some of it involves themes of physical and sexual abuse that may be uncomfortable to some readers but are far from gratuitous. For those looking for good horror, Lovecraftian or not, this gets a high recommendation.