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That Which Should Not Be (That Which Should Not Be #1)

3.99  ·  Rating Details ·  789 Ratings  ·  186 Reviews
Miskatonic University has a long-whispered reputation of being strongly connected to all things occult and supernatural. From the faculty to the students, the fascination with other-worldly legends and objects runs rampant. So, when Carter Weston’s professor Dr. Thayerson asks him to search a nearby village for a book that is believed to control the inhuman forces that rul ...more
Paperback, 260 pages
Published October 7th 2011 by JournalStone (first published January 1st 2011)
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May 12, 2015 Marvin rated it it was amazing
Shelves: autographed, horror
This review has been approved by Cthulhu Kitty...

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Sometimes you just gotta bow to the masters.

In That Which Should Not Be, Brett J Talley's tribute to Lovecraftian horror, he does just that. But he also manages to freshen up the Cthulhu Mythos, rustles some new scares into an old reliable war horse, and gives us what may be the best horror novel of 2011.

Talley's debut novel is a delight of atmospheric horror while not flinching from more violence scenes when it needs to. A Miskatonic
mark monday
Brett J. Talley offers a buffet of Lovecraft-inspired tales in a novel full of stories that are contained in one overarching narrative. the structure often reminded me of old omnibus films from Amicus Productions like Torture Garden and of course that great classic Dead of Night from Ealing Studios. I appreciated the reminder.

the main tale concerns a student of Miskatonic University sent to find an ancient tome in a remote village. the story itself is quite involving and leads to a fun climax se
Oct 26, 2011 Jason rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Lovecraft and other classic horror fans
I've been reviewing a few indie books lately. So far, they've all gotten four to five stars from me. Am I being easy on these writers, sympathizing with their independent ventures? Hell no. Of all the indie books I've read thus far, none have let me down. I'm sure that there is crap out there, crap meaning unedited writing that should is not, and perhaps never was ready for publishing, of which was the fear for small and/or self-published press before eBooks exploded onto the scene.

The latest o
Jon Recluse
Jul 10, 2013 Jon Recluse rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror, 5-star-horror
One of the finest additions to the Mythos I've read in years, paying homage not only to Lovecraft himself, but to others who have added to the canon. Told as a series of tales, this novel shines not only a light on the classics, but a ray of hope for the future of cosmic horror in literature. Mr. Talley has earned his place in the Lovecraft Circle, for he has done the Master proud.

Highest recommendation.
ᴥ Irena ᴥ
May 06, 2015 ᴥ Irena ᴥ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
That Which Should Not Be uses a frame narrative variation to tell a story of Carter Weston, a young student, who was asked by his professor to find a dangerous book and bring it to Miskatonic.
That is the main story.

After Weston arrives in Anchorhead where the book is supposed to be, he finds shelter from a terrible storm in an inn where he is invited to join four men: Jack, Daniel, William and Captain Grey.
'What one can say for sure is each man lost his innocence, his youth, in those days tha
Brett J. Talley's That Which Should Not Be is a novel in stories which pays tribute to the classic works of horror fiction, particularly H.P. Lovecraft and his Cthulhu mythos.

Cartwer Weston is a student at the Miskatonic University in Arkham, Massachusets, a place where both the faculty and students have an interest in all things occult and supernatural. So it is no surprise when one day Weston is approached by Dr. Atley Thayerson, his supervisor, who tells him that an incredibly rare book has b
Apr 07, 2012 Steve rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror, pulp, e-books
Whew! What a ride! Early on it was a bit bumpy, with an overabundance of clichés and, what I originally thought to be a slight or creaky structural start . The main character, Carter Weston, a student at Miskatonic University, is tasked by his professor, Dr. Thayerson, with recovering an evil book, Incendium Maleficarum(“The Inferno of the Witch”). Weston arrives at the sea side town where the book is hidden, during a bad storm, and walks smack dab into a bunch of old guys, who almost seem to ha ...more
Bark's Book Nonsense
Oct 28, 2014 Bark's Book Nonsense rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror
On Sale for .99 as of today 10/28/14 until November 4, 2014!

Disclaimer: This is a Lovecraftian influenced novel and I have never read H.P. Lovecraft. I have only seen some of the film adaptations made in the 80’s because my boyfriend was silly enough to let me choose the movies we rented back then. Yes, back then when one had to travel to an actual video store to rent a movie. From Beyond, Re-Animator, The Unnamable? How I loved them so but I’m guessing these flicks probably took some liberties
Aug 07, 2011 Amy rated it it was amazing
The things that go bump in the night, the zombie apocalypse, the amount of money it takes to fill up your gas tank are horrors that may seem truly frightening - until you read what is in store for humanity inside the covers of this book.

Carter, a student at a university known for its dabblings in the occult, the otherwordly, and the possibly demonic, is asked by his professor to undertake a particularly daunting task. A book known as Incendium Maleficarum has been rumored to be nearby, and Cart
If you happen to be a Lovecraft fan or a fan of stories told in Pubs, then this book is perfect for you.

The arching story line is the quest for an ancient book by Carter Weston is a student at Miskatonic University - Not the Necronomicon written by Abdul Alhazred - which is discovered (by the way) in one of the four tales in this book, but a more ancient book regarding the secrets of Witchcraft "Incendium Maleficarum" (The Inferno of the Witch). The quest takes us through four tales of Gothic ho
Anne Petty
Sep 26, 2011 Anne Petty rated it it was amazing
Caveat - I was sent an advance review copy of this book by the publisher with an invitation to review if I felt it was worthy. I enjoyed the book greatly and admired the skill with which it was written, so I chose to review. This is NOT a paid review.


For those who like their horror Old School, That Which Should Not Be is a delicious treat. Channeling a potent witches’ brew of H. P. Lovecraft, August Derleth, Algernon Blackwood, and Bram Stoker, Brett J. Talley pulls out all the clas
Jul 17, 2013 Kimberly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

An incredible journey from beginning to end! The poetic writing and "old-style" horror really put this book ahead of so many others. There wasn't a dull point in the story--one which I didn't feel furthered the plot along in some way. The characters were well fleshed out, and easy to follow. Though I think of this as "lovecrafian-themed" horror, Brett Talley has a style all of his own, and a unique interpretation of this sub-genre.

Recently I reviewed a book entitled LIMBUS, INC., and his story
Frank Errington
Mar 29, 2016 Frank Errington rated it it was amazing
Three years ago I purchased a copy of That Which Should Not Be by Brett J. Talley and just never got around to reading it. Sometimes my TBR list just gets out of control.

When the publishers of That Which Should Not Be reached out to me about reviewing the sequel, He Who Walks In Shadow, I figured it would be a good idea to read Talley's first foray into the mythos of H.P. Lovecraft.

As much trouble as I've had reading many of the works of H.P. Lovecraft, I found myself easily engrossed in modern
Jan 07, 2013 Bandit rated it it was amazing
After several tries to win this book through GR giveaways, I finally found a copy at the library. Well worth the effort of locating, this book is exactly what an award winning Bram Stoker nominated novel should be. It's a lovecraftian homage at its finest, 5 tales in one (although only 3 of those are really lovecraft inspired), every one as horrifying and compelling as the next. Cosmic horror by nature is one of the most effective kinds there is, because it reduces us to mere specks before the v ...more
In years to come when I look back on the authors that shaped my recent conversion to the sub-genre of cosmic horror as created by Lovecraft, two names will top that list. The first is Tim Curran. The second is, now, Brett J. Talley.

At first glance That Which Should Not Be seems unwieldy. The book takes the form of a manuscript delivered to those responsible for the estate of the recently disappeared and presumed dead narrator, Dr Carter Weston. In it, Dr Weston details his journey to becoming a
Christopher Payne
Jun 28, 2011 Christopher Payne rated it it was amazing
Shelves: journalstone
Miskatonic University has a long-whispered reputation of being strongly connected to all things occult and supernatural. From the faculty to the students, the fascination with other-worldly legends and objects runs rampant. So, when Carter Weston’s professor Dr. Thayerson asks him to search a nearby village for a book that is believed to control the inhuman forces that rule the Earth, Incendium Maleficarum, The Inferno of the Witch, the student doesn’t hesitate to begin the quest.

Weston’s journe
Trev Twinem
Dec 25, 2013 Trev Twinem rated it it was amazing
The bartender threw another log on the fire, and as he did, the already burning wood cracked and spat embers into the air. They burned for a moment , lived for only an instant, before vanishing into the night. The wind blew with its greatest intensity, and the snow fell in sheets. The heart of the storm was upon us, revealing that its earlier fury had been only a preview of things to come....what sublime writing...admit it you are curious and are drawn in....

Do you remember when you were a kid a
Gregor Xane
Jul 12, 2013 Gregor Xane rated it liked it
Shelves: 2013
That Which Should Not Be is a literary pastiche that pays loving tribute to the writings and mythos of H.P. Lovecraft. In the author’s attempts to mimic Lovecraft’s style, he sometimes veers unintentionally into the realm of parody (I’m thinking specifically of the writing in the overblown opening chapters). This, of course, is a danger anyone would run into when choosing this particular subject to pay homage to, as Lovecraft himself often seemed like a parody of himself in his worst moments. On ...more
Sep 22, 2011 Katy rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: fans of horror, Lovecraft, Cthulu
Carter Weston attended Miskatonic University against the wishes of his father, who wanted him to go to Harvard. However, Weston’s fascination with the occult led him to Miskatonic, which had the reputation – albeit only whispered about – of being closely connected with all things occult and supernatural. One day, Weston’s mentor – Dr. Thayerson – sends Weston on a quest to find a very rare book; a quest that leads him to a small fishing village in the middle of a blizzard, where he meets four me ...more
Cassie McCown
Aug 07, 2011 Cassie McCown rated it it was amazing
That Which Should Not Be
By: Brett J Talley
ISBN: 9781936564149
Published October 7, 2011 by JournalStone
Available Format: Paperback, ebook

My Rating:

That Which Should Not Be is the winner of JournalStone’s 2011 Horror Writing Contest!

As a student at the mysterious Miskatonic University, Carter Weston is accustomed to the well-known reputation of the school’s association in all things occult and supernatural. When Professor Thayerson sends Carter on a secretive search for a dark and powerful book,
Nora Weston
Sep 02, 2011 Nora Weston rated it it was amazing
Carter Weston believes even before he knew the name of Miskatonic University...that he was already gravitating toward it, and so much so he never understood what home was until he arrives on the witch-haunted grounds. Located in Arkham, Massachusetts, Miskatonic University’s rich history, including wild rumors of occult activity, soon fascinates Carter to the point he agrees to help Dr. Thayerson retrieve an ancient book called the Incendium Maleficarum...Inferno of the Witch. Thayerson states t ...more
Aug 26, 2011 Jenn rated it it was amazing
Carter Weston is a college student at Miskatonic University, where the fascination with legends and the occult run rampant.
One infamous book named the Incendium Maleficarum, The Inferno of the Witch resurfaces and Weston’s professor and mentor asks him to procur the book for him and get it back to him immediately so that it can be locked away forever, Weston jumps on the chance to get the book for his professor.
His journey to find the book won’t take him long in miles but the men he will encount
Chance Maree
Feb 14, 2012 Chance Maree rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: readers of horror and Lovecraft lovers
Shelves: kindle, horror
This is a 5 star horror/fantasy filled with magical rites and bone-chilling folklore--a wonderful homage to H.P. Lovecraft. I was thoroughly immersed in each sub-tale, turning pages with tingly anticipation and foreboding. The style is classic horror, yet not too antiquated or stilted. The characters were fascinating and well written. Some scenes were chilling, others were gory.

My rating dropped to 4.5 stars that I cannot round up, because of the ending --not what happened in the end, rather th
Dec 23, 2011 Maxine rated it really liked it
Carter Weston is a student at Miskatonic University (fans of HP Lovecraft will recognize this name), a university which is considered by the superstitious to be 'witch-haunted', a place where nameless rites could be heard echoing through its hallowed halls. Weston is enlisted by one of his professors to retrieve an ancient relic which is believed to be hidden in a neighbouring town. When he arrives at his destination during a blizzard, he seeks shelter at a nearby inn where he is invited to join ...more
Troy Mccombs
Mar 14, 2012 Troy Mccombs rated it it was amazing
I'm a HUGE fan of H.P. Lovecraft. He's part of the reason I got into writing (especially this genre) in the first place. I've read almost every story he's written. He is my favorite author.

So no wonder I bought this book. Besides, look at the cover--it's freakin' Cthulhu! Gotta love him!

Anyway, I started reading this book with a mixture of excitement and dread. On one hand, I wanted to read a Lovecraftian story. On the other hand, many have ruined his style by writing stories (or making movies)
Aug 13, 2011 Alyosius03 rated it it was amazing
Finally a contemporary author has written a novel worthy of the appellation "literary horror." Evocative of the work of H.P. Lovecraft, this many-layered story takes the reader from a stormy New England seaport to the mountain ranges of Eastern Europe; from snowy forest to the dreadfully still waters of a dead sea; from the peculiar halls of an ancient university to the infinitely more ancient dangers that lurk beneath the surface of the earth and inside the heart of man. The author's language-- ...more
Aug 26, 2014 Ken rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lovecraftian
I have been a slow convert to the whole Lovecraftian Cthulhu mythos. This book has encouraged me above and beyond what any other book has to look further into the topic and go back and read what I have missed.

Talley laces together a series of short narratives following a common thread to produce a wonderfully coherent story. Each dark tale explores a different angle to the Cthulhu story and Talley ties them together at the end with a showdown between the light and the darkness.

Hal Bodner
Apr 28, 2012 Hal Bodner rated it really liked it
I was thrilled that this book was nominated for the Bram Stoker Award last year. Though there were several excellent books in contention, for some reason, "That Which Should Not Be" strikes me as being quintessentially what the Stoker Award should be about.

Talley takes a series of traditional horror tropes and cleverly tweaks them to fit into a broader Cthulu tapestry-- a tapestry that Talley weaves with great dexterity. There's nothing fundamentally original or earth-shattering here; each stor
Jan 16, 2012 Hayley rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: horror fans; gothic fans; Lovecraft fans;
Fantastic book. Dark, gritty, demonic, filled rich language and supernatural creates. Loved it.

Carter Weston is a student of Miskatonic University (H.P. Lovecraft will recognise the fictional university, with a reputation of being linked to all things occult and supernatural); he's sent on a mission by his Professor to find a Book, Incendium Maleficarum, a much known and much feared artefact. On a dark, stormy night (as it always is), Carter stops in a local tavern, where four men tell him stor
Jeffrey Wilson
Aug 25, 2011 Jeffrey Wilson rated it it was amazing
Author Brett J. Talley has breathed new life into legends and stories as old as the Cthulhu creature itself. More importantly, he has captured the voice of the legendary writers who go before him. Told in the classic literary horror style of Lovecraft, Shelley, and Stoker, this book is alive with imagery and rich characters which bring to life the terrifying story in a way that will keep you up at night long after you have turned the last page.

Told through the eyes of five main characters, the b
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Visit me at!

A native of the South, Brett Talley received a philosophy and history
degree from the University of Alabama before moving to witch-haunted
Massachusetts to attend Harvard Law School. When people ask, Brett
tells them he writes for fortune and glory. But the truth is the
stories in his head simply refuse to stay put. Brett loves every kind
of fiction—from horror to liter
More about Brett J. Talley...

Other Books in the Series

That Which Should Not Be (2 books)
  • He Who Walks in Shadow

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