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Ghouls of the Miskatonic (Dark Waters #1)

3.34 of 5 stars 3.34  ·  rating details  ·  192 ratings  ·  37 reviews
It is the roaring twenties - a time of jazz, gin, and g-men. But a shocking murder has upset the tranquility of Arkham, Massachusetts. When the mutilated body of a student is found on the grounds of Miskatonic University, the baffled authorities struggle to determine who - or what - is responsible. When two more students go missing, is it the work of the same killer, or so ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 329 pages
Published August 30th 2011 by Fantasy Flight Games (first published August 23rd 2011)
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Brett Talley
The most frustrating books are those you read and don’t like but can’t figure out exactly why. Ghouls of the Miskatonic by Graham McNeil is one of those books. There’s every reason it should be right down my alley. It’s unapologetically Lovecraftian, set in the mid-1920s in Arkham, Massachusetts at Miskatonic University. There are lots of ghouls, ancient gods, and cultists creeping around. And I love the cover (In all honesty, that’s why I bought the book. Happens a lot.) But while all the eleme ...more
Ghouls of the Miskatonic is two novellas and a guidebook in one book. The first novella is about some missing girls, some bootlegging operations, and jazz clubs. It has Irish dock workers, Pinkerton agents, Irish bootleggers, rundown boarding houses, and wise-cracking newsagents with cute photographers. The second one is a massive amalgamation pastiche of many, many Lovecraftian and Lovecraft-esque ideas, with changes made to make things a bit more "peppy" (screw ghouls that only eat on the dead ...more
Christian Petrie
Even after reading this book, it is hard to know how much I enjoyed it. It comes down to a split for me on it. From a plot stand point, it was very interesting. Seeing how the different characters introduced are weaved towards the ending. Also, how I imagined things were going to happening, changed on me.

The problem I had with the story is trying to place the setting and characters. It was suppose to take place in 1928, yet the way the author was describing some characters it felt like modern da
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Well... it could have been worse?

I knew I wasn't going to get the best book ever, because licensed titles are rarely the domain of extraordinary authors. I figured my love of the Arkham Horror franchise would smooth over any gaps in prose or plotting. Unfortunately, it wasn't so.

I'm not sure quite where things went awry in Ghouls of the Miskatonic. I have a vague suspicion it's to do with the characters - frankly, calling them cardboard is a bit insulting to cardboard. And there are just too man
Martin St-laurent
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I actually bumped this book--"Ghouls of the Miskatonic"--up from three to four stars, which is rare for me. I'm a big H.P. Lovecraft fan from way back, and I'm also a big fan of the Arkham Horror universe of board gaming (Arkham Horror, Mansions of Madness, Elder Sign, etc.).

Though I do warn you, if picking up this Arkham Horror book--"Ghouls of the Miskatonic"--is your introduction to the world of Lovecraft, Arkham Horror and the Cthulhu Mythos, be prepared to be a bit confused.

Sep 02, 2012 D351 rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: horror

I like to think to think that the Arkham Horror series takes place in an alternate version of the Cthulhu mythos where all of the depressing things about the twenties (racism, sexism, etc.) are drastically reduced and the monsters, rather than being hid away, are everywhere but simply ignored. In the first regards, it reminds me of the Society for Creative Anachronism. In the second, it reminds me of a theme park ride.
From a Lovecraftian purist perspective, it fails in two other ways: The tone
William M.
Inspired by the hugely popular board game, “Arkham Horror”, and based in the world created by H.P. Lovecraft, “Ghouls Of The Miskatonic” is an extremely well written novel published by game company, Fantasy Flight Games. While the flavor and tone of the book is consistent with many of the attributes of the game and Lovecraft’s mythology, the story felt like it could have used a touch more editing to keep a faster pace.

New York Times’ bestselling author, Graham McNeill, is a tremendous writer, b
Jun 25, 2012 Mike rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of H. P. Lovecraft
Shelves: e-books, horror, reviewed

When I first saw this novel, I was pretty sure that it was going to be another role-playing game tie-in novel. I was pleasantly surprised. While the beginning is a bit slow, once we get past the introductions of all the characters the action begins to pick up. It turns out to be a well-written novel that could very well have been written without the Arkham Horror imprint. As you may well learn if you've read one or two of my reviews, I'm a fan of horror author H.P. Lovecraft. Of course that's a

So bad it's good. Perfect as a read-aloud with other fans of Arkham Horror.

The first few chapters are nearly unreadable, full of endless descriptions of the buildings of Arkham (I've already seen the game art, I don't need to read a full description of the wings of the library/science building). The pace really picks up after that. The scene in the commercial is actually pretty good (a rare, bright spot of decent writing!). The monsters and Ancient Ones appear As Promised.

The prose is full of b
Lando Huud
This book is purely for the fans of Fantasy Flight's Arkham Horror games or Chaosium's Call of Cthulhu role-playing game. Every element that you've come to expect from playing those games makes its way into this story. So fans of those particular settings are going to thoroughly enjoy this book.

General fans of H.P. Lovecraft may not. This book is not historically accurate for the 1920's time period, some of the language and actions of the characters are a bit off as well. If you are like me and
This book was better than I had expected. Even though it really has no similarity to lovecraft in terms of writing style, etc., it contains some nice references to some of his novels. Unfortunately the authors never accomplishes to make you feel like the story was really set in the 1920's. This is due to the very modern way the characters are portrayed without any bias concerning racism, religion, etc. The few attempts in this direction feel quite artificial and forced (e.g. the quarrel about Da ...more
Thoroughly disposable fiction, readable but forgettable. Based on a board game (Arkham Horror), which is based on a role-playing game (Call of Cthulhu), which is in turn based on a set of stories by H. P. Lovecraft and others.

A varied group of investigators look into the murder and mutilation of college girls in 1926 Massachusetts, which leads them into conflict with a hidden cult, inhuman creatures, and a mysterious evil mastermind who won't be explained until the next book. The writing is bris
A novel based on board game? Sure, why not.

I do think it could have benefited from tighter editing. It never really spoils things but the occasional questionable metaphor, repeated simile, etc. did cause me to raise an eyebrow a few times too many. Given the book's premise there's an air of silliness about it as all the usual Mythos suspects are lined up for inspection, like a pilot episode clamouring for an audience.

The problem is that by the end I really enjoyed it. For the most part the chara
Ian Eppenbaugh
I've always had a hard time reading books based on games and books set in "worlds" that the author isn't the original creator of. Arkham Horror: Ghouls of the Miskatonic had both of those working against it. But, overall, it was an enjoyable read. Once I overcame my slightly negative reaction to this being based on the Arkham Horror board game (a game, I might add, that I love deeply), I was able to read it without problem. Graham McNeill does an acceptable job of weaving this original story int ...more
Ghouls of the Miskatonic was exactly what I thought it would be; an entertaining, non-thought provoking fantasy novel that while not poorly written certainly won't have anyone clamoring to hand over any literary awards. It's a little slow to start, but the cast of characters is enjoyable enough to keep you reading. Ultimately it's the perfect three star novel; it does everything you want it to do just well enough to have you finish it, but not necessarily well enough to recommend it to everyone ...more
George Ramos
Got this for free from Fantasy Flight Games and was pleasantly surprised to find I enjoyed it! The Fantasy Flight Games novels are based on their board games, and this one is modelled after "Arkham Horror". The book fleshes the game out a bit and captures its feel and essense very well.

It tells a very straightforward "Lovecraftian" stpry, full of action, monsters, co-eds, bootleggers, professors, etc. All the hallmarks of a great weird tale are there, and the one trip to "another dimension" was
I enjoyed the story, but there wasn't much Lovecraft in the story aside from the setting. The action was fun, the characters were decent, but the suspense of actual Lovecraft stories never really made an appearance. Monsters in Lovecraft's universe are supposed to be mind-shattering; fighting them off with a six shooter and a broken piece of wood isn't really part of that genre. As a horror-themed game novel, it was great. As a Mythos story, it leaves a lot to be desired.
This was... well, better than I expected. Not great, but an entertaining read. It had some really slow periods, and the climax was fast, furious and over quite quickly, leaving quite a few questions, so it was a little uneven. I'm looking forward to the next book, though. It definitely had the "Arkham Horror" feel, and it was cool to get a little background on the city and the characters.
A pretty good book but has some flaws. Action becomes a bit dry at parts in the book and I needed to push my self to continue. Fans of the game will find similarities between the way the party of characters interact in the novel and the the mechanics of the game. This is a nice way to keep the readers going when the action picks up. Fans of the game or the Cthulhu Mythos will enjoy this read.
I gave up shortly before halfway through. The pacing did absolutely nothing to make me want to read further into the story to see what happens. Also, if you go so far as to use the word "gelid", which probably has not been seen once on the printed page at any other time in the 21st century, but have the rest of the vocabulary at the high school reading level, you're being a bit pretentious.
I did not think that this was a bad attempt of trying to re-create something similar to Lovecraftian style horror. Sure its not a replacement for the real thing but I thought the author did a decent attempt to set the stage and create a enjoyable storyline. I am also a fan of the FFG Arkham Horror boardgame and it was neat to see some of the various characters in the game used in the book.
Christer Karlsson
If you like the game it is a rather nice meeting with some 'old' friends (Amanda Sharpe, Rita Young, Ashcan Pete and Duke etc). If you have hoped for and expected a book that breathes H.P.L., Clark Ashton Smith and others that are synonymous with the Cthulhu Mythos, you will not get it. This is a representative of today's Urban Fantasy, and not from the top-shelf.
Way better than I was expecting. I was expecting schlocky game fiction, but it is well written (... for game fiction). Everyone and their brother from the board game is in it, which actually becomes a bit annoying. They overdose on characters but the upshot is still a pretty good book. If you like Cthulhu it's not like anyone else is writing it these days.
Dec 22, 2011 Dan marked it as first-chapter-only
Bastardized spin-off novel based on the bastardized spin-off board game based on the original short stories. (Note that the publisher is Fantasy Flight Games.)

When the Kindle preview ended, I'd been introduced to six point-of-view characters, none of whom seemed to be actually doing anything. If there's a plot here, it's much too slow in arriving.
Pedro Timoteo
Very decent "Lovecraft-lite" (and I don't mean that in a bad way). The author seems to forget from time to time that the story is supposed to take place in the 1920s, both in terms of societal attitudes and language, but the book is a pleasant read. Ignore the fact that it's based on the board game, you wouldn't know it if you didn't look at the cover.
Read the dead tree version. I wasn't expecting much, but was pleasantly surprised. Very entertaining and fun throughout, with lots of nods to the game and the Mythos in general. Sure, it's goofy and not particularly Lovecraftian, but it's very Call of Cthulhu, which is great by me! Will definitely read the next book in the trilogy.
Chris Ingram
Pulp grist for the mill for the fans of Arkham Horror and the Cthulhu Mythos. Not a stand-out book, though I typically like the Warhammer 40K books by the same author. I also must admit I originally bought this book only to get the additional card for my Arkham Horror set!
Kristýna Obrdlíková
Čtivé a zábavné rozvíjení lovecraftovského univerza. Nechybí tam nic, co od toho člověk čeká. A navíc tam potká své oblíbené hrdiny. :-)
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Hailing from Scotland, Graham McNeill narrowly escaped a career in surveying to work for Games Workshop as a games designer. He has a strong following with his novels Nightbringer, Warriors of Ultramar, Dead Sky, Black Sun and Storm of Iron.
More about Graham McNeill...

Other Books in the Series

Dark Waters (3 books)
  • Bones of the Yopasi (Dark Waters, #2)
  • Dweller in the Deep (Dark Waters, #3)
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