Alan Moore pays homage to H. P. Lovecraft in these two horror stories, collected together in a single volume. The first, The Courtyard, sees an undercover FBI man trying to solve the mystery surrounding a series of bizarre, identical serial killers. Tracing them back to a particular drug, he tracks down their dealer, but finds himself too far undercover and trying the drug himself.
The story is self-contained but fairly light, and I was left wondering whether the book was going to be something of a damp squib.
Then along comes Neonomicon. This is Moore at his darkest and most deviant. Following on from and building upon the previous story, two more agents are sent to investigate the missing agent from The Courtyard. Also going undercover, they get involved in a bizarre Lovecraftian sex cult, playing along with the cultists until they too are way out of their depths.
Without giving anything away, because the element of surprise is the book’s most powerful weapon, the sexual content is explicit and nasty. This isn’t necessarily to the detriment of the book but that will depend on your point of view. You certainly wouldn’t want it falling into the hands of children.
If you can stomach the weird, hardcore sex though, you’re left with an immensely powerful book. It draws heavily on Lovecraft’s American gothic universe, both from a fictional and a real perspective, with Moore’s knowing characters finding what they assumed to be fiction becoming all too real.
It’s not for the faint-hearted or the easily shocked, but Lovecraft fans, perhaps more than Moore fans, are likely to get a lot of disturbing thrills from these grim, bizarre stories.