Audio Review 65 // Wrath of N'Kai by Joshua Reynolds


A long overdue audiobook review. This time I dip my toe into the worlds of Arkham Horror. I have been meaning to get this series of titles for a while but just have never found the time. But when I saw this new title was by Joshua Reynolds, I knew I was in safe hands. His Fabius Bile story was great. So without too much more waffle, here are the details.

Title: Wrath of N'kai (Arkham Horror #16, why start #1? haha)

Author: Joshua Reynolds

Fluff: The first in a new range of novels of eldritch adventure from the wildly popular Arkham Horror; an international thief of esoteric artifacts stumbles onto a nightmarish cult in 1920s New England.

Countess Alessandra Zorzi, an international adventurer and thief, arrives in  Arkham pursuing an ancient body freshly exhumed from a  mound in Oklahoma, of curious provenance and peculiar characteristics. But before she can steal it, another party beats her to it. During the resulting gunfight at the Miskatonic Museum, the countess makes eye contact with the petrified corpse and begins an adventure of discovery outside her wildest experiences. Now, caught between her mysterious client, the police, and the society of necrophagic connoisseurs, she finds herself on the trail of a resurrected mummy as well as the star-born terror gestating within it.

Listen Now: Audible

Book: Paperback

Review

What a great reintroduction to the Arkham/Lovecraft lore. I have reviewed previous stories but have only recently stepped into the newer created fiction. After listening to this, I wonder why I waited so long.

This title is set in the classic realm of Arkham, deeply put into the 1920s. America is full of gangsters, bootleggers and pulp-style detectives. We are introduced to Alessandra Zorzi, who portrays herself as a Countess but is, in fact, a procurement specialist (aka thief) of forbidden lore and artifacts. Not sure if this is her first outing, but she is a strong and powerful lead, backed up by an equally strong companion called Pepper.

Zorzi has been hired by the classical "mysterious man" to steal the mummy. This mummy was strangely located in middle America, completely unknown for mummies. But as she is set to steal the piece, a criminal trio beats her to it. The story then progresses into an excellent pulp detective tale as Zorzi finds the mummy. While this is all happening rival groups move within the city, each hoping to regain the mummy for their own weird purposes and who to trust becomes a real issue.

Once again, Reynolds creates a setting with fantastic skill. I feel sucked into the era, and as the narrator describes the scene, I am there in the 1920s, be it spoken language used or the description of the dives of Arkham. Overall, if you enjoy a whodunit title with a hint of the otherworld, this is great. It doesn't go too far down the rabbit hole of Lovecraft lore as the lead isn't that interested in it; instead, we are dropped breadcrumbs to research ourselves, and this is so engaging! If I have to pick a fault and I feel I do as no title is perfect, there are a few too many characters. Sometimes it could be a bit misleading, but Arkham is a big, little city, so it makes sense to have a lot of important characters.

Wrath of N'kai, as mentioned, was a great reintroduction to the lore of Arkham Horror and has very much reinvigorated my interest. But which title next? Please drop me your thoughts and let me know.

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