Southern Gods
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Southern Gods

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3.71 of 5 stars 3.71  ·  rating details  ·  620 ratings  ·  142 reviews
Recent World War II veteran Bull Ingram is working as muscle when a Memphis DJ hires him to find Ramblin’ John Hastur. The mysterious blues man’s dark, driving music–broadcast at ever-shifting frequencies by a phantom radio station–is said to make living men insane and dead men rise.

Disturbed and enraged by the bootleg recording the DJ plays for him, Ingram follows Hastur’...more
Paperback, 270 pages
Published August 1st 2011 by Night Shade Books (first published July 26th 2011)
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Community Reviews

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Dan Schwent
Bull Ingram is hired by Helios records head Scott Phelps to find two men: Earl Freeman, a missing employee, and Ramblin' John Hastur, a mysterious bluesman whose music can drive men mad. But what does Bull's job have to do with Sarah Williams, a woman who just fled her husband and fled back to Gethsemane, Arkansas with her daughter?

Sometimes, you read a first novel and pray the writer doesn't try for a second. This is not one of those novels. Southern Gods is a whole other animal. It's actually...more
Stephen
A wonderful and disturbing blend of genre-warping originality...

Southern Gothic meets Cthulhu Mythos
Hard-boiled noir meets new weird horror
Dark and gritty meets gruesome and gore...

Fresh, unique story-telling meets the writing talent to do it right.

This is a debut novel? Shut the front door! No way. You might as well dial in the Bram Stoker Award for Best First Novel as this is an easy win. Tightly plotted with great characters and a back-story/mythology that will glue you to the page. This...more
Lou
There is a music that once heard has an effect upon the listener and also there are books out there filled with pages that once glanced at have an effect upon the reader. Occult books that document other gods, worlds, and evil forces some may see them as Humbug and false but other know too well of their power over the reader and the deadly consequences of its recitation. Evil calls to itself and many characters in this story are to be caught in its path, an evil plan, a plan that only certain po...more
Steve
As a first book, Southern Gods is an outstanding achievement. When I first read the outline for the story, involving music, noir, the deep south, and Lovecraftian horror, I had my doubts. I feared name dropping on the music end, and been-there, done-that, on the Horror end. Not so, at least not until the end. When it comes to Horror, Jacobs isn't doing anything new. Where he succeeds is with his craftsmanship. He spends a great deal of time developing character and establishing atmosphere, time,...more
Marvin
Flannery O'Connor marries H. P. Lovecraft.

Now that's a wedding I would love to attend. OK, so I might be stretching the point here but John Hornor Jacobs has managed to write an intriguing marriage of Southern Gothic and Lovecraftian horror. The plot of Southern Gods evolves around an ex-veteran knuckle breaker in the early 50s who is paid to find a record company promo man and a mysterious blues singer called Rambling John Hastur. The bluesman's music is rumored to send people into uncontrolled...more
Algernon

One of those impulse buys I picked up based on the cover, and that turns out to be better than expected. Horror is not my favorite genre, I am either turned off by extreme gore or I start giggling if the vampires start to sparkle or the action goes over the top with ridiculous odds. The main appeal for 'southern Gods was initially the music: although I have a really big blues collection on cd's, I have not often found bluesmen as literary protagonists (there's one in The Lust Lizard of Melanchol...more
David
If you like the horror stories of H.P. Lovecraft or any of the authors influenced by him (which is pretty much anyone who has written a horror novel in the last century) then you should definitely read this. It's a horror story set in the 1950s South, mixing Elder Gods with the blues, full of gibbering, ichor-spewing corpses, mad cultists, twisting, writhing, tentacled abominations, and a final confrontation on a riverboat (of course). John Hornor Jacobs renders a loving, gory tribute to Lovecra...more
Bill  Kerwin

I admire the way John Hornor Jacobs' first novel combines different genres--private eye and hillbilly noir, Stephen King horror and H.P. Lovecraft terror, with a bit of "Gone With the Wind" and the Robert Johnson blues myth thrown in for good measure--into a coherent unity. Unlike many first novels--or perhaps I should just say "novels"?--its conclusion not only fulfills its conception, but deepens and enriches the tale.

A few words about about why I like the ending. (Pardon my vagueness, but I...more
Chance Maree
This is more than a 3 star read, but not quite enough to round up to 4 stars. The potential for a fabulous story carried me through until a sudden shift in point of view. The main character, Bull, seemed to take a back seat to Sarah and the action became hers, with Bull fading into the background like a supporting actor. I lost a bit of interest at that point. Bull's character and background were more interesting, and though I was sympathetic to Sarah, she would have been better as a support to...more
Jennifer
Southern Gods is the debut novel of John Hornor Jacobs.

I wasn't sure at first how much I was going to like Southern Gods. It started out with a great, atmospheric prologue which should have been a good thing, but prologues always send off warning signals to me that the book is going to need a lot of help hooking me. Then, as I expected, it had a slow start. I didn't have a lot of confidence that the book was going to be extraordinary, but I was wrong. Really wrong.

I loved Southern Gods.

In the en...more
Lea
I really wanted to like this one a lot more than I did. There were just some issues with it that I couldn't get past:

First of all, the story took a few turns that were much darker than what I'm comfortable with. Once the shit hits the fan, the author is ready, willing, and able to explore depravity and violence -- and some of it is pretty extreme. This just isn't my kind of thing.

I had a problem with some of the timing of the events -- sometimes this books drags a bit, but sometimes things leap...more
Irena
***3.5***

A missing person assignment turns out to be something that Bull Ingram would have never imagined. This war veteran is hired to find a missing employee of a Memphis DJ and to discover the origin of disturbing music that seems to be broadcast from a secret radio station. Soon, Bull finds out that the music is more than he expected.

Bull is not the only one connected to all this. From the Prologue we are introduced to Rheinhart family and the horrible events that started all this evil in 1...more
Brett Talley
Whenever you read a book that’s received nearly universal praise, it’s always hard not to assume the hype will outpace reality. Not so with Southern Gods. In this homage to Lovecraftian fiction, John Jacob Horner has smashed a homerun and served notice to all who are paying attention that his is a talent to be reckoned with.

Bull Ingram is the kind of guy you seek out when you have a job that needs doing, no matter what it takes to get it done. Hired by a Memphis DJ to hunt down a missing employ...more
Jesse Bullington
Still reading, still reading--Blues man named Ramblin John Hastur is stirring up trouble in 1950s Arkansas, and it's up to Bull Ingram to track'em down. Most excellent so far...
Ginger Nuts
Recent World War II veteran Bull Ingram is working as muscle when a Memphis DJ hires him to find Ramblin' John Hastur. The mysterious blues man's dark, driving music - broadcast at ever-shifting frequencies by a phantom radio station - is said to make living men insane and dead men rise. Disturbed and enraged by the bootleg recording the DJ plays for him, Ingram follows Hastur's trail into the strange, uncivilized backwoods of Arkansas, where he hears rumors the musician has sold his soul to the...more
Kristin  (MyBookishWays Reviews)
You may also read my review here: http://www.mybookishways.com/2011/09/...

It’s getting closer and closer to my favorite time of the year. October is just around the corner (which of course means Halloween),and the weather is finally cooling down. For me,this means sprinkling in some horror with my urban fantasy. There’s been a bit of an influx of Southern Noir in both film and books lately,and the atmosphere that books set in the deep south creates is always a draw for me. Southern Gods has been...more
Douglas Wynne
Southern Gods is the debut horror novel by John Hornor Jacobs. It’s also a well crafted piece of historical fiction set in the 1950s, and it was recently in the running for the 2011 Stoker award for best first horror novel. Part Lovecraft, part noir, the story centers on Bull Ingram, a WWII veteran haunted by the war who finds work as a private investigator and muscle man for hire.

The writing is sharp, the historical era, southern gothic setting, and characters all gracefully drawn with detail a...more
Steve Weddle
Alright, I don't know Cthulu from Gesundheit so all of this "Lovecraft-infused Faulkner" talk about this novel just breezed right by me.

After the ghost/horror story prologue, the book moves like a well crafted PI novel -- the search for the missing person. Of course, like all good PI search books before it, the searcher ends up unraveling more than he'd bargained for and turns to a new search.

What's magnificent about this particular novel is the way it stays true to this form, then expands and...more
Ken
"Southern Gods" is a Lovecraftian novel set in rural 1950's Arkansas. Jacobs does a great job mixing a hard-boiled-esque detective story with a tale of something much, much older.

Good job!


4 1/2 STARS
Maggie K
Dang.....Gothic, horror, mystery, Old Evil Gods, Noir, zombies, family secrets, love gone wrong....it really shouldn't have made sense...but it was believable and creepy as hell.


Dang....look out Joe HIll
Joseph
Hell-hound blues! Zombies! Lovecraft! Jacobs' engrossing gris-gris will take ya down to the crossroads and on then to the Deep Places where the hungry Old Ones sho gon git'cha!
Doug
Bull Ingram is sent into Arkansas to find a man, a salesman of sorts that sells blues and rock music, at that time considered "Negro Music" to white radio stations that play it, profit from it, but still consider it something of a novelty. And to find a radio station that broadcasts strange music that mentally effects the listener. This double quests bring him face to face with the Pale Man, and Ramblin' John Hastur, whispered legends in the backwoods and the whisperings aren't. Parallel to Bull...more
Sam
Never have I wanted to hear fictional music so badly... Jacobs' description of Ramblin' John Hastur's recordings made me wish there was a soundtrack for the book, albeit without the nasty side effects.

Jacobs deserves the Stoker nomination. Southern Gods takes place before I was born in a part of the country I have never visited, but his writing does a good job of making the setting seem familiar and real. The realities of life in the post-World War II, pre-Civil Rights Era in the South are dealt...more
Jack
May 30, 2013 Jack rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: owned
I knew I had to have this book after listening to John Hornor Jacobs talk about it at a conference. My girlfriend bought it for my birthday, and Jacobs, a genuinely good guy, signed it for me. As far as debut novels go in the horror genre, I can't imagine a better one.

Being a fan of Gothic literature, in general, be it Horror or Southern Gothic, it is easy to see the variety of influences that played in to Jacobs's work. There are moments within the storytelling that reminded me of one writer or...more
Julie Summerell
There is a great deal of beauty in this book about a mysterious musician who might or might not be channeling the Devil.

The first thing I noticed upon cracking open SOUTHERN GODS was that if you were to lift the prologue from the pages and place it in an anthology of short fiction it could stand on its own in a very satisfying fashion. At that point I knew I was in for a hell of a story.

John Hornor Jacobs has crafted characters that will grab your emotions and take them whizzing through the st...more
William Thomas
In the TV show Supernatural, these guys are always selling their souls to crossroads demons. Just like blues man Robert Johnson. In one episode, they talk about Johnson and his music, using all of the markers in the lyrics to prove he did make a deal with the devil to become the greatest blues man on earth. I'd say that if that were the case, it was one fairly powerless demon he dealt with because by rights he should have died rich and famous and not have been found out about years later when pe...more
Reed
Whatever happened to novels under 300 pages? If you cannot remember such a thing, you are obviously not as old as I am. There's something said for a well-told tale that is economically written. I have grown bone-weary of fantasies that cause wrist pain from holding too long. Hell, I've taken to reading with a pillow on my lap, upon which I prop whatever overstuffed book I am currently reading. Maybe I'm just getting old.

At any rate, Jacobs has given us a crackerjack short novel that I found thor...more
Justin
Bull Ingram is a very big fellow. He’s a former Marine who is still a little raw from the war like most men in the early 1950s. Bull works as paid muscle and his primary job is finding people who owe his employers money. When he finds them, he “convinces” them to pay back their debts. He is very good at his job. A folk music dealer wants Bull to locate a mysterious blues man by the name of Ramblin’ John Hastur. Hastur’s music has strange effects on those who listen to it, and Bull’s new employer...more
Benjamin
Smart, promising, but ultimately failed novel, situating Lovecraft's cosmic horror in the 1950s American South.

Taking Lovecraftian horror and putting it in different times and places is a long tradition in the Cthulhu stories, as in the Severn Valley stories of Ramsey Campbell or the Texan horror of Robert E. Howard. John Hornor Jacobs is not the first writer to put Cthulhu in the South--that honor probably goes to Lovecraft, whose "Call of Cthulhu" partly takes place in the swamps in Louisiana-...more
Wesley
If I don't write this why the overwhelming feeling of an ass whooping is still upon it wouldn't be authentic of me. You have to have a strong stomach for this book, down to the nitty gritty of being told things that disturbing people find disturbing. That being said this is a unique read that I would really recommend this for the month of October possibly closer to the 31rst. The story was original, the characters were top notch, I will definitely have to read something in the opposite direction...more
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SciFi and Fantasy...: Southern Gods by John Hornor Jacobs 5 26 Apr 24, 2014 07:13AM  
Gore and More: Southern Gods 3 5 Feb 06, 2014 12:39PM  
Ph'nglui mglw'naf...: Southern Gods 9 45 Aug 28, 2012 01:42PM  
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John Hornor Jacobs has worked in advertising for the last fifteen years, played in bands, and pursued art in various forms. He is also, in his copious spare time, a novelist, represented by Stacia Decker of the Donald Maass Literary Agency. His first novel, Southern Gods, was published by Night Shade Books and shortlisted for the Bram Stoker Award. His second novel, This Dark Earth, was published...more
More about John Hornor Jacobs...
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