H.P. Lovecraft's fictional city of Arkham has become a staple of Lovecraftian fiction. It has a history of the supernatural, it contains the New England people and architecture so beloved by Lovecraft, and it is nearby such significant locales as Miskatonic University, Innsmouth, and Dunwich. The anthology Arkham Tales: Legends of the Haunted City uses the city as the focal point for its horror tales. Alas, it doesn't deliver stories worthy of the Arkham name.

The stories here range from the 1920s and 1930s (when Lovecraft wrote) to the present day. There are numerous elements from Lovecraft's work, from evil tomes to Professor Wilmarth. Unfortunately, the stories don't deliver the horrors or creativity of Lovecraft or other authors who have ventures into his mythos. There is little of the universal horror that lingers after the reader has finished a story. Repeated references to the Pinkerton detectie agency seemed to promote the Call of Cthulhu card game more than add to the history.

These stories aren't awful, but they aren't inspired either. (The sole exception is "Disconnected," whose deliberately chronologically-jumping story provides a chilling result at the end.) I'd recommend fans of Lovecraft read the originals, or take a look at one of the other numerous Lovecraftian anthologies out there.

Overall grade: C-

Reviewed by James Lynch

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