The Imago Sequence and Other Stories - Laird Barron If you like H.P. Lovecraft and his modern successors like Caitlin Kiernan, then you'll probably like Barron. Though, to be sure, he only intermittently captures Lovecraft's creepiness or Kiernan's lyricism. In the end it all comes down to "did I enjoy reading these stories"? And, for the most part, the answer would be "yes."

"Old Virginia" - Set in the most paranoid days of the Cold War, a team of CIA operatives guards a couple of scientists and a mysterious patient (Old Virginia) in an isolated cabin. Old Virginia is a gateway for an ancient, primordial entity, and as with most CIA operations things rapidly get out of the agency's control.

"Shiva, Open Your Eye" - Another tale about a representative of a primordial power whose existence and purpose is largely unguessed (and thankfully so) by humanity told from the point of view of the representative.

"Procession of the Black Sloth" - One of the nice things about a good Lovecraftian-style tale is that you are never quite sure whether the events are real or just figments of a disintegrating mind. So in this tale we have the recollections of Royce, who's sent to investigate a seemingly mundane affair of corporate skullduggery but winds up caught in the coils of a demonic cult.

"Bulldozer" - A lot of Barron's characters in this collection are detectives or two-bit thugs hired to investigate "normal" cases but who invariably wind up discovering things that claim life and soul - as is the case in this story about a Pinkerton detective chasing down a serial killer.

"Proboscis" - A story about entities sucking out lives.

"Hallucigenia" - Probably the most "Lovecraftian" of the stories: A degenerate white-trash family straight out of Lovecraft's New England, a creature that resembles Yog-Sothoth or the Dunwich Horror, and portals opening out into the Void. It's also my favorite.

"Parallax" - An interestingly twisty tale about a man suspected of murdering his wife when she disappears, a serial-killer ex-cop, and quantum mechanics.

"The Royal Zoo Is Closed" - This was the least satisfying tale of the bunch. A stream of consciousness ramble, a style I always find hard going.

"The Imago Sequence" - My second favorite of the collection. Reminiscent of Lovecraft's "Pickman's Model" and Kiernan's Threshold it also includes a do-it-yourself trephining scene as a madman attempts to become a god.