You Are What You Read

Reviews of books as I read them. This is basically a (web)log of books I've read.

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Location: Lawrenceville, Georgia, United States

I am a DBA/database analyst by day, full time father on evenings and weekends.

Saturday, July 28, 2012


Neonomicon is a graphic novel written by Alan Moore and Antony Johnston and drawn by Jacen Burrows. The novel is very dark and explicit. It expands on the Cthulhu mythos by horror writer H. P. Lovecraft.

The opening section is about an FBI agent named Aldo Sax, a person who can see the connections in different cases. He tracks the murders to a nightclub where he finds a band singing in a strange language. Sax finds a drug dealer who agrees to sell him a new drug. However what he finds is not a new substance but a new language. When Sax is introduced to the language a whole new world of experience and thought is opened to him. While he believes what he now sees is the real truth, he slides into insanity and eventually murders a victim.

The rest of the novel follows FBI agents Gordon Lamper and Merril Brears as they follow through on the case years later. Brears is a woman who has had issues with sex addiction and a nervous breakdown before rejoining the bureau. Their interview of Sax in a mental asylum consists of them asking him questions and him responding in his strange new language. When they track down the same nightclub and drug dealer they end up finding only a crime scene with the body of his mother. The drug dealer himself vanishes.

In the third section Lamper and Brears follow a lead to a small coastal town. Here is where the story gets dark and weird. They go undercover and investigate a store that is a combination sex shop and occult emporium. The owners are fan of Lovecraft and are obsessed with his world. The characters in the story know the Cthulhu mythos, just like the reader, only in the story the elder ones are real. This technique blurs the distinction between fiction and reality and makes the horrific events feel more real. Referring to fictional characters and events as fiction (fiction that is widely known in the real world) and then seeing them come alive in the story is a literary feat. If the characters had not known of Lovecraft but only encountered these strange creatures, it wouldn't have had the same effect. This technique melds the fictional world of Cthulhu with the real world of Lovecraft.

The events that follow are horrific and disturbing. Brears must face her inner demons of her past as well as real threats. The artwork is gritty and graphic. The artist is adept at showing the human characters and the fantastic visions given life by the language of the elder ones. Two pages where Sax descends into madness consist of four nearly identical panes of him staring out at the reader as he calmly explains to his victim why he is carving him up. This graphic novel leaves a deep impression. The story is compelling, mixing sex and violence and the occult. The art brings out the dangerous emotions in the story. Together they make a memorable book. A-

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