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Publisher's Summary

People move to New York looking for magic, and nothing will convince them it isn't there. Charles Thomas Tester hustles to put food on the table, keep the roof over his father's head, from Harlem to Flushing Meadows to Red Hook. He knows what magic a suit can cast, the invisibility a guitar case can provide, and the curse written on his black skin that attracts the eye of wealthy white folks and their trained cops.

But when he delivers an occult page to a reclusive sorceress in the heart of Queens, Tom opens a door to a deeper realm of magic and earns the attention of things best left sleeping. A storm that might swallow the world is building in Brooklyn. Will Black Tom live to see it break?

©2016 Victor LaValle (P)2016 Macmillan Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jason
  • United States
  • 05-24-16

One of the best books I've heard all year.

Utilizing some of the established Lovecraftian mythos almost as an afterthought, Victor LaValle spins his tale in a manner so engrossing that you lose yourself in the New York of yesteryear.

By the end of the tale, you're unsure exactly who to root for- Black Tom or the world he would destroy- and the story's monsters are so vile and detestable that you'll find yourself wishing they were supernatural.

My highest possible recommendation- both for story and for Kevin R. Free's nuanced storytelling.
Five of Five stars- in all categories.

12 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Entertaining

I liked the idea and the writing was good. The narrative and the voice seemed at odds in some passages. Those looking for Lovecraftian horror should pass on this one. it is a supernatural detective story with some light 'old gods' backstory.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A Perfect response to Mr Lovecraft.

Wow. Just wow. Have you ever read any Lovecraft and loved his mythos but wished he were a better writer and not such a xenophobic twat? Read Lovecraft's 'The Horror at Red Hook'....then read this. It's spectacular.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • R.
  • 04-22-17

Cosmic horror for the modern reader.

The story builds pace rather quickly and grips the reader. Very unlike the slow burn lovecraftian horror I was expecting. However, it slows down towards the mid point but picks up again a little later.

The prose is fantastically written, Victor Lavalle's prose is like poetry but never feels over done.

The only gripe I have with this book, is that it kind of fizzles out and never does end properly. But then again, it's horror on a cosmic scale, us puny humans wouldn't get it anyway.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Good Start Sloppy Finish

This was a decent listen, I must say listening to the source material first (H.P. Lovecraft's The Horror at Red Hook) makes this far more enjoyable -at least the first half anyway. Not to mention since this story is supposed to be about Tom I would have much preferred the whole book focus on Tom's story instead of only giving us half of a story about Tom. After the first half of the book the end feels rushed as if the author just wanted to move on to something else.

Anyhow, the narrator is pretty talented. I wish he'd voiced Malone differently, but that may have to do with the way the character has been written in this book. Tom and everyone else is handled pretty well in my opinion though.
So not an amazing book, but a decent enough ride that I'd say it's worth listening too.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Worth a listen

A great plot and one of Lavalle's better works...the actor did a great job embodying the voices of the characters.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Great twist on a genre

This is well worthy your time. The author does a great job of using New York City as a backdrop for a complex story that takes Lovecraft racial hysteria and turns it on his head.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Absorbing, sad, and uncanny Lovecraftian tale of an outsider from Harlem

This story does a lot in a short space but never loses its cool focus. The author played with all the tropes just right to dig into the atmosphere, the character, and the unknowable, untameable, supernatural forces at play. Having blues music (its lyrics, its power, its emotion, its loss, its use as plot lure for the protagonist as musician) merge with a well-paced Lovecraftian tale of temptations and mistakes was a treat, and that state of segregation and blatant racism from whites with blacks and chinese and whoever else deemed foreign and as low as a beast in society of that time is emphasized by, and helps to emphasize, the sense of dangerous boundaries, of being an outsider and of having outside forces lurking in the corner of our lives. But besides these societal and Lovecraftian forces at play, we also have the protagonist's personal relationships and self-awareness bringing in a sad, touching thread of humanity struggling to survive its fall. I also enjoyed having the story flip to another character's view in the middle to give us another layer to the horror. Highly recommended listen. The narrator was spot on, and gave justice to different character accents. Get it.

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

loved it

great short story. really got the 1920's feel with the attitude of cops in NY. painted a beautiful tapestry of life in Harlem independent of what was going on in other parts of the city.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Well written, well voiced

This was a novel retelling of HP Lovecraft's "The Horror at Red Hook" from the perspective of Tom Tester. Kevin R Free is one of my all-time favorite readers and this performance does not disappoint. I would recommend this title to anyone looking for a quick and engaging horror story.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Beccameriel
  • 12-01-16

Quirky Lovecraftian horror

An interesting short story that provides a corrective to the vile racism of Lovecraft's Horror at Red Hook. It's atmospheric and well-written but possibly best enjoyed if you are already a fan of Lovecraftian weird fiction.

Well narrated by Kevin R. Free

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Donna
  • 02-09-17

Different but in a good way.

Enjoyed reading something I had to think about especially the underlying story which was very sad but believable.

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  • Josh
  • 06-20-16

Amazing

Once again Lavalle delivers an awesome story. It’s weird and creepy and entertaining and a little messed up.

Definitely worth listening to!