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Southern Gods

3.71  ·  Rating Details ·  1,151 Ratings  ·  215 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
ebook, 229 pages
Published August 1st 2011 by Night Shade Books (first published July 26th 2011)
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(showing 1-30)
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Dan Schwent
Aug 01, 2016 Dan Schwent rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012, lovecraftian
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
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
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 whole. 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
Nov 09, 2015 Melki rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Music hath charms to soothe a savage breast.” ~ William Congreve

If music does indeed have the power to soothe, then it seems fair to assume it might be able to anger and incite the listener as well. After all, the less-than-dulcet tones of Slim Whitman have been known to do this:


Now, imagine hearing music that would make you want to murder the person standing next to you . . .

"I haven't heard nothing like that ever in my life, and I don't mean that in a good way. I started getting worked up, l
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
Oct 09, 2011 Steve rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, horror, e-books
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
May 20, 2013 Algernon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013

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
May 13, 2012 Marvin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
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
Tom Mathews
Nov 15, 2015 Tom Mathews rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: lovers of blues and good horror.
1951: Former Marine Lewis ‘Bull’ Ingram is hired by a Memphis music mogul to find one of his payola peddlers who has gone missing in back-country Arkansas and also to track down a bluesman whose music gives the title ‘I put a spell on you’ new meaning. John Horner Jacobs' debut novel may be the best horror story I've read in the last couple years. Some of the key scenes could have been done better but others are very well done. Overall, it is a very creative story, rich in atmosphere and with a ...more
Douglas Wynne
Jan 02, 2015 Douglas Wynne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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
Chance Maree
Aug 29, 2011 Chance Maree rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, fantasy, horror
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
Nancy Oakes
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
ᴥ Irena ᴥ

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
Kristin  (MyBookishWays Reviews)
You may also read my review here:

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
Steve Weddle
Aug 08, 2011 Steve Weddle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
An excellent horror novel, especially considering this is the author's first book. You get a real feel for life in the south in 1951 and I like how the R&B music came into play. There were chills and thrills throughout the book, with characters you really cared about. A bit of a twist in the end, but not entirely unexpected. Highly recommended.
"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
Jesse Bullington
Aug 02, 2011 Jesse Bullington rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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...
Aug 14, 2011 Joseph rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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!
Sep 28, 2011 Doug rated it liked it
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
Ginger Nuts
Aug 04, 2011 Ginger Nuts rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 29, 2015 Still rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of the WEIRD TALES legendary pulp writers
Recommended to Still by: Various Goodreads Friends

I was out of town for a book sale in Ithaca, NY for the past week & when I returned I attended a birthday party for my now 90 year old mother-in-law.
So -there was a pause in my reading of this impressive horror novel.

Hard to believe that this was the author's first novel.

In the grand tradition of the horror pulps of the 1930s -particularly Weird Tales and reminiscent of all of the authors influenced by H. P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos: Robert E. Howard, Frank Belknap Long, Clark Ashton Smith
Benoit Lelièvre
Great first novel and the basis for a potential great mythology. John Hornor Jacobs doesn't bother with many limitations that characterize the horror genre. He's going behind the veil of darkness and exposes a unholy and frightening pantheon. Not the most memorable cast of characters, but it's what they are. Puppets of a greater force. Amazing debut.
Maggie K
Apr 23, 2014 Maggie K rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dang.....Gothic, horror, mystery, Old Evil Gods, Noir, zombies, family secrets, love gone really shouldn't have made sense...but it was believable and creepy as hell.

Dang....look out Joe HIll
Gregor Xane
Sep 13, 2011 Gregor Xane rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
The hard-boiled investigator was brutal, which I liked. Too much of the story was driven by fate (coincidence) and divine intervention, which I'm not too keen on. Overall, it was a solid, entertaining debut and I'd certainly pick up another book by this author.
Jun 18, 2016 Matthew rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful story that combines Southern Gothic, Noir, and Lovecraft. I really can't speak highly enough of this book.
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-
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SciFi and Fantasy...: Southern Gods by John Hornor Jacobs 5 32 Apr 24, 2014 07:13AM  
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Ph'nglui mglw'naf...: Southern Gods 9 49 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
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