Book Reviews

Black January by Douglas Wynne

Black January by Douglas Wynne
Published by JournalStone on 10.17.16
Genres: Cosmic Horror, Dark Fiction, Horror
Pages: 250
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Two years after the Starry Wisdom Church unleashed their dark gods in Boston, Becca Philips is trying to put the events of the Red Equinox behind her when Agent Brooks tracks her down in Brazil. Becca has been summoned back to Massachusetts by SPECTRA, the covert agency entrusted with keeping cosmic horrors at bay. Her special perception and skills are requested at the Wade House--a transfiguring mansion of portals to malevolent dimensions.

Becca would like to refuse, but Brooks believes her estranged father may be lost between worlds at the abandoned estate. As Becca struggles with grief and forgiveness, she joins a team of explorers uniquely suited to decode the secrets of the strange house in the black snow. But what secrets do her companions harbor? And who among them will take theirs to the grave?

Since the Starry Wisdom Church tried to unleash the Old Gods in the city of Boston 2 years ago, things have been quiet for Becca. Unfortunately, a portal through which the Old Ones could come through is currently being tinkered with, and Becca, as well as a team from SPECTRA, (a mysterious government agency), are being called in to prevent said portal from being opened. This doorway is centered inside Wade House, wherein Becca’s father has disappeared. Outside Wade House, black snow is falling.

(This book takes place in the same world as Red Equinox. One does not have to have read RE to understand Black January, but it certainly would enhance the reader’s understanding of the story.)

Wade House is an extraordinary property. Reminding me of House of Leaves and Hill House both, the angles are all off. A room that looks one way when you pass through it, may look entirely different when you pass through it on the way back. In fact, it may no longer even lead you back from whence you came at all. If Becca’s father is lost there, how will they ever find him and more importantly, how can they seal these doorways so that nothing is ever allowed to enter our world? You’ll have to read this book to find out!

The house and the Old Ones were my favorite parts of this book. I love stories about mysterious houses with dark pasts, mirrors that are gateways, and pianos that, when a certain tune is played, have lids that open onto hell itself. What horror fan wouldn’t like that? As some of these portals and doorways do briefly open, the reader gets a glimpse not only of Lovecraft’s Old Ones, but Wynne’s Old Ones- in all of their “drive you to the brink of madness itself” glory. Wynne makes these Gods his own-they are memorable, evil and timeless.

Black January was a blast from start to finish. It’s imaginative, creative, fast paced and overall just plain FUN! I highly recommend it for fans of Lovecraft and the Great Old Ones. I also think that fans of House of Leaves would get a kick out of this highly entertaining novel.

Available now, here:  Black January

*An eARC was provided to me by the author, in exchange for my honest review. This is it.*


About Douglas Wynne

Douglas Wynne is the author of the novels The Devil of Echo Lake, Steel Breeze, and Red Equinox. He lives in Massachusetts with his wife and son and a houseful of animals just a stone’s throw from H.P. Lovecraft’s fictional town of Arkham. You can find him on the web at at

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