Friday, October 14, 2022

New Book Review - Secrets in Scarlet

Book - Secrets in Scarlet
Editor - Charlotte Llewelyn-Wells
Writers - David Annandale, Davide Mana, Jason Fischer, Carrie Harris, Stephen Philip Jones, Lisa Smedman, James Fadeley, MJ Newman, Josh Reynolds 
Series - Arkham Horror #18
Published By - Aconyte Books

First things first, I got this book from NetGalley, so thank you NetGalley and Aconyte Books for this opportunity.

My knowledge regarding Arkham Horror was quite minimal before reading this anthology. I know it was based on the Cthulhu Mythos by Lovecraft and others. I know there are quite a lot of books based on it and it has a devoted fan base. I was always a bit interested, so jumped on the wagon when I saw this on Netgalley. 

This collection is a very good jumping on point for new reads, the setting is based on locations all over the world, each story has feature people in red in some form, has some very interesting characters and introduces readers to the basic premise of the world of Arkham Horror among other things.

Now on to the stories - 
'The Man in the Bubble by David Annandale' 
We are introduced with the Commissioner Taylor of the Foundation as they investigate and try to locate a mysterious artifact that could be very harmful in the wrong hands. An average story which serves as an introduction to the Foundation. 
3.5 out of 5 stars. 

'City of Waking Dreams by Davide Mana' 
A story set in which Inspector Li Flint comes to Shanghai in search of the Lady with The Red Parasol. Quite an interesting story with brilliant setting, some nice characters and snappy dialogue. 
4 out of 5 stars. 

'Brother Bound by Jason Fischer' 
The story of two brothers, who gets caught in something more than the bargained for, and learns of ancient artifacts and dark magic. This story had an enthralling beginning and some delightful background into the history of cane and sugar tread. One of the better stories in this anthology. 
4.5 out of 5 stars. 

'Honor Among Thieves by Carrie Harris' 
Another story of siblings, twin sisters Mila and Rosa, who agrees to do a heist for the mysterious Sanguine Watcher, but things soon get out of hand quickly. Nice little story with twists and turns. 
4.5 out of 5 stars. 

'A Forty Grain Weight of Nephrite by Steven Philip Jones' 
Our main character Kymani Jones, is searching for a sky disc or Bi with mysterious powers, which was taken by a mysterious organization. A story full of twists and turns and people with unexpected motives and switching loyalties. One of the best stories in the collection, I didn't expect the small little twist in the at all.
5 out of 5 stars. 

'Strange Things Done by Lisa Smedman' 
Another brilliant story, set in a boat that is travelling to Alaska. The main character is a reporter who notices strange things going around him. A different kind of horror, but nonetheless a chilling experience. 
4.5 out of 5 stars. 

'In Art, Truth by James Fadeley' 
A story set in Turkey, detailing about a female researcher who is investigating about a mysterious artist. Despite a nice setting the story is a bit too slow for my liking and nothing is really resolved in the end. One of the weaker stories. 
3 out of 5 stars. 

'Crossing Stars by MJ Newman' 
Plotted as a story within a story, where a mysterious patron tells her new employee a story that might not be just a story. Had a nice beginning but gets pretty predictable quickly and even seemed to drag a bit despite having potential. 
3.5 out of 5 stars. 

'The Red and the Black by Josh Reynolds' 
Set in Venice, it tales the tale of Trish Scarborough, who is seemingly  working to find a red book before the members of the red coterie, or is she? Very enjoyable little story, as is to be expected from this skillful author, with a new perspective and some interesting twists. 
5 out of 5 stars. 

Overall, as can be expected from any anthology, this had some ups and downs. But I did enjoy reading most of it and it most certainly made me very interested in the world of Arkham Horror, where I will be sure to be a visitor again. 

Cumulative score - 4 out of 5 stars. 

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