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The Bell Forging Cycle #1

The Stars Were Right

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Caravan Master Waldo Bell didn’t expect to return home a criminal. He just wanted a relaxing month off between jobs so he could explore the city of Lovat, enjoy a soft bed and a few decent meals. Instead, he’s arrested—accused of killing old friends and hacking off body parts.

Escaping custody and on the run, Wal becomes a citywide fugitive fighting to clear his name. As the body count rises, a shadowy assassin emerges as the true killer, and the trail begins to grow more and more bizarre.

The Stars Were Right combines mysteries and monsters, chases and cults, and an ancient evil in a world that is similar but not quite like our own.

364 pages, Paperback

First published August 20, 2013

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About the author

K.M. Alexander

4 books178 followers
K. M. Alexander is a Pacific Northwest native and novelist living and working in Seattle. His work explores nontraditional settings within speculative fiction, bending and blending genres to create rich worlds and unique, approachable characters.

Follow his exploits at kmalexander.com.

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5 stars
111 (41%)
4 stars
85 (32%)
3 stars
51 (19%)
2 stars
11 (4%)
1 star
7 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 51 reviews
Profile Image for Anthony.
253 reviews34 followers
April 24, 2017
I don't read Sci-Fi or Fantasy novels too often, at all. I had only received this via Book-bub which is an e-mail platform that offers deals on select titles each day. So I looked it up, saw great reviews and decided to download to my kindle and give it a chance. Needless to say, I was wary of what I was about to get into... especially after having read bigger titles such as The Dark Tower I or Queen of Bedlam. I was worried that I was going to give this a DNF and claim that this 'wasn't for me'.

Oh, how I was wrong.

Waldo Bell = Me. The entire way through, I envisioned myself as the main character. Works hard, but wants to chill and do his own thing once the job is done; Loves to eat and is frequently hungry, haha; has many friends and acquaintances whom he respects and would always want to help; often avoids awkward confrontation, and dreads it when forced. Oh, I could go on! Of all the books I've read this year, the main character in this one fits me the most!

The city of Lovat is definitely an interesting place, yet one I certainly would not want to live. Could you imagine eight other levels of City, built above you? Where no sunlight shines though, you just have concrete ceilings and sodium lights -- and rain just drips through holes and cracks. What would happen if there was an earthquake? Millions of souls would be crushed! Or what about a Tsunami or some sort of devastating act of nature?

I definitely think that this book earned all five stars. The plot was well set, the setting was well described, the characters were well defined, and the mythology was well researched. There was action, there was suspense, there was horror, there was pain, there was blood, and there was heart.

Well Done, Mr. Alexander
Profile Image for C.N. Crawford.
Author 56 books6,042 followers
March 2, 2015
This is an action-packed fugitive story set in a vibrantly-detailed world. The main character, Waldo Bell, ends up on the wrong side of the law when his friends and acquaintances start turning up brutally murdered. Waldo is charming and relatable - sort of an everyman who finds himself caught up in an otherworldly situation. He's not always super quick to figure things out, but he's funny, and I appreciate his food obsessions. While he's on the run from the police, we get a tour of the city's underworld, and the world building is fantastic.

I think the biggest strength for me are the descriptions. For one thing, there's the food, which had my mouth watering. There needs to be a Lovat cookbook. Then there are the characters, especially some of the secondary ones like the police men, who are described so vividly that you feel Wal's repulsion for them. And in the end, I ended up with a visceral hatred for the bad guys. I'm hoping to learn more about the world in future books -- especially the gods and religions.

The ending is epic, and will not disappoint.

Note: the character in the opening chapter is not the main character. I feel like this is important to point out, because I was worried when I first opened the book that I'd be reading about a middle aged alien shop owner.
Profile Image for Maris.
376 reviews6 followers
January 2, 2015
I'm not sure how I would describe the tone of this book - urban fantasy with a bit of steampunk, a space western but not in space, a touch of Laird Barron with the ability to fight back?
In any case, I enjoyed it. Sometimes I suffered from what I think of as the Alien syndrome: I wanted to pause the story and say, "Ok, plot is all well and good, but look at this world! Can we just go explore its backstory for awhile?" Some universes deserve to be Tolkien'ed up like that!
Profile Image for Rob Hayes.
Author 35 books1,433 followers
November 8, 2018
I was given this book to read as a judge for the Self Published Fantasy Blog Off.

The Stars Were Right is noir-esque fantasy with a Lovecraft'ian bent. There's a good chance you already know if this one is for you or not.

Waldo Bell is a caravan master used to carting valuable loads between the cities of a world that has been changed by rising of the great ones. After completing one such job, he wants nothing more than to sit down with a nice meal and a bottle of vermouth. Unfortunately for him, he's been framed for murder. And not just any murder, but the ritualistic killing of a friend. What follows is a fairly by-the-numbers noir story about Waldo proving his innocence, and discovering that the stakes are much higher than a stint in the lockup.

There's a lot to like in The Stars Were Right. An intriguing city built in tiers, with mysterious flooded levels. Hints at a history similar to our own, but irrevocably changed after the rising of numerous Lovecraft'ian gods. Interesting ties to various mythologies, and the possibility that magic and monsters were around even before the gods awoke. And it's all tied together with fluid prose, and some turns of phrase that had me grinning at the page. I even highlighted a passage I quite liked, and I don't often do that.

“Demoninations of millions became sects of thousands. Sects of thousands became fellowship of hundreds, and fellowships of hundreds scattered like leaves before a storm.”

But the story never quite gripped me like some in the fantasy noir style have. I think there were a few reasons for this, but most of them boiled down to the main character being a bit bland. Waldo just never really grabbed my attention, and as the whole book is written from his perspective, I often found myself labouring through chapters. He also felt a little indestructible, which removed a lot of the tension.

So I liked The Stars Were Right, but didn't love it. The world was intriguing and I'd have loved to have learned a bit more about it, and where the new races came from and how they all fit together. But I felt the main character could have used more development.
Profile Image for artofstu.
109 reviews
January 6, 2015
Really enjoyed this indie book that I heard about through the H.P. Lovecraft Literary Podcast. The thing I loved best about The Stars Were Right (and the reason I decided to give it four stars) was the world building. Unique and interesting, I really enjoyed learning about the world of Lovat. The characters were likable, and I really grew to care about them all.

The writing is adequate, but I think K.M. Alexander has a lot of potential. As a new author, he's probably still finding his voice, which is okay. I did notice a couple of style errors that slipped through the proofing process. I think that's really hard to avoid, though, especially for an indie. What stinks is that this particular problem is possibly something that may make it harder for people to accept indies, which means they could be missing out on a lot of good stuff. All that is to say that, while there is a lot of crap on the indie market, The Stars Were Right is not crap. It's a good story with strong characters and a really strong, original setting. I think K.M. Alexander has a bright career ahead of him as a writer. I, for one, am looking forward to book 2, which is a lot more than I can say about a lot of traditionally published authors.

Keep up the good work, K.M.
Profile Image for Adam.
Author 11 books6 followers
August 3, 2016
i won this book through the goodreads giveaways and what a treat!

the author included a personal note, bookmarks and stickers - it's obvious that he's supporting this effort with all the best intentions and i hope he gets back everything and more. big cheers and wishing great success to him and to this project!!!

the book itself was an entertaining and quick read - it providing me with a new world to explore, lots of new characters and plenty of notable settings. the adventure was well paced and had unexpected twists to keep the plot moving forward. well done!

if the book description sounds good to you, you're sure to enjoy this work. recommended.
Profile Image for J. Rushing.
Author 1 book17 followers
April 14, 2017
This was such a fun read. The world K.M. Alexander created is vivid, visceral and above all, uses the perfect amount of description. I can fully visualize the world around the characters without being force fed every detail. It lets me exercise my own imagination which is much appreciated. Definitely one I'll recommend to others.
Profile Image for Emily.
16 reviews
June 8, 2014
What a fun read. I loved the buildup, with interesting characters and a fascinating and rich world. Once the action really began to accelerate, I found myself reading every chance I got — I had to know what happened next! Definitely looking forward to future books in this series.
Profile Image for Mischa.
91 reviews1 follower
May 23, 2015
My reading patterns don't often include the works of unpublished authors, so it was a very pleasant surprise to find myself so swiftly and and enjoyably drawn into the world of K.M. Alexander's Bell Forging Cycle. A rich world, made a pleasure to explore through the eyes of protagonist Waldo Bell, as he is dragged deep into the machinations of a strange, demi-God worshipping cult and their plans for the end of the world. Well paced, textured and witty, with enough food references to keep you just a little hungry the entire way through.

Definitely a recommended read, deserving of far wider recognition and distribution.
Profile Image for Hillary Pincus.
148 reviews11 followers
January 25, 2015
Not what I was expecting at all! A local author's slight homage to Lovecraft.

Waldo runs a caravan and after his latest run, he wants nothing but food and a shower. His arrival back to Lovat finds him soon Public Enemy Number 1 as his friends and acquaintances are being murdered. Not just murdered...mutilated.

Running from the police and The Children, trying to clear his name, Wal finds out the "why" of it all is far stranger than he could've imagined!

Not normally one for sci-fi, but I enjoyed this selection!
Profile Image for Raedia.
81 reviews3 followers
October 14, 2013
"The Stars Were Right" was full of interesting characters, in a fascinatingly well-imagined world. I found myself getting hungry for foods I'd never tasted, in places that don't exist (at least in our universe). Once I got into this book, I couldn't put it down! I'm looking forward to future adventures in this world for sure.
Profile Image for Ben Vanik.
3 reviews8 followers
September 25, 2013
A gritty adventure through a city rich with life and death, in the style of a tale told over some cheap whiskey at a dusty dive bar on the outskirts of a bizarre Lovecraftian town. Excellent pacing, excellent lead character, and excellent world building.
Profile Image for Scott Smith.
7 reviews2 followers
June 30, 2018
Some of the best worldbuilding I've read, and I loved the story set within the unique, palpable world. The Stars Were Right kept me engaged from page one, which is hard to do. Can't wait to dig into the next book.
Profile Image for Dwayne Clare.
3 reviews3 followers
October 2, 2013
A fantastic story with a genuinely likeable protagonist and plenty of suspense. Fast paced and lushly detailed. A very enjoyable read. I look forward to further works from this artist.
Profile Image for Cheyenne.
401 reviews9 followers
November 3, 2021
I received a free e-copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This book was a fun combination of fantasy novel and thriller. Taking place in a unique secondary world full of one-of-a-kind fantasy races (no elves or dwarves here), the story starts when our protagonist returns from his most recent caravan-leading job. Upon his return, he visits an old friend, only to be accused of murdering that friend shortly after. Therefore, he is faced with the task of clearing his name and figuring out who actually committed the murder in question, and some more murders besides.

I wasn't sure what to expect from this book, given that it's shelved in multiple different genres on Goodreads, and indeed, it did have some genre-bending properties. As I previously mentioned, I would consider it primarily a mixture of a fantasy and a thriller; it did incorporate an element of Lovecraftian horror toward the end of the story, but it didn't strike me as particularly scary, as far as books go.

I haven't had the best of luck with self-published books in the past; while I know some very talented self-published authors, I have been disappointed by most of the books in this category which I picked up without already knowing what I was getting myself into. As such, this book was a pleasant surprise. I truly did enjoy it and felt the writing came across as fairly professional. I will say that it was somewhat poorly edited (there were several instances of the same topic coming up more than once, for example, in such a way that you could tell only one instance was meant to have made it into the final draft) but I did feel like the author knew what he was doing and had a lot of potential to continue to grow over time.

Aside from the editing, I only have two complaints. One was that the book was fairly predictable. I tend to hope for more surprising plot twists when it comes to mysteries and thrillers, but I suspect this was a thriller written for fans of fantasy who might not predict all the twists as easily (I just so happen to be a reader of both genres, so while I enjoyed seeing the genres meld together like that, I was already familiar with a lot of the tropes and such). Even so, the book was enjoyable. It just never shocked me.

My other complaint was that, while I enjoyed the uniqueness of the world and the fantasy races the author brought into his story, all this uniqueness made it very difficult to picture anything that was happening for the first several chapters of the story. There were five or six different races, at least, none of which (aside from humans) I had ever heard of before starting this book, and because the protagonist was already familiar with all these races, the author didn't have an excuse to go out of his way explaining them all to the reader. He managed to give us descriptions over time that offered understanding as to what each of the races generally looked like, but it took a while to get it all down, and therefore, the beginning of the book was difficult to get into. I will say that I'm usually the kind of person that enjoys high concept fantasy and sci-fi and I'm pretty patient when it comes to waiting for explanations about the fantastical elements of the world around me, but here it was just interfering with my ability to immerse myself in the world, which was a bit of a bummer. I'd have preferred a bit more physical description sooner.

The other comment I have along these lines was that the world clearly had a pretty detailed history to it. It was implied that it had started out like our current world today and those races all came from... somewhere. But none of this was ever explained in more detail than that, and I was curious. I know this is only the first of a series of at least four, but I can't help but feel that even a little bit of this history could have been revealed in Book 1.

Anyway, those are my feelings regarding this book. It was a solid mixed-genre read, and I would recommend it to anyone who likes the sound of the premise or the world I've alluded to here. While I can't say that it would make a favorites list, I think the author has a lot of promise and I would consider reading another one of his books in the future.
Profile Image for Marco Subias.
79 reviews
July 25, 2020
The Stars Were Right is thriller set in a strange, distant, H.P. Lovecraft-inspired future, in the city of Lovat, a wonderful blend of the familiar and the alien. The main character is an everyman who has to untangle a mystery before it kills him, along with everyone he cares about.

While I like my Lovecraftian fiction to feature an appreciable degree of cosmic nihilism, and this story didn’t, I liked the book more than enough to buy the next in the trilogy. I love the setting. I very much liked the main character, and the supporting cast. The author used description well. I’d have liked more of it, though that’s a personal taste issue and not a reflection of writing quality.

I have some quibbles which prevent me from awarding a full five stars. Reading those falls into spoiler territory, so do not continue unless you want to learn plot details you can’t unlearn!




In the final showdown with the cultist congregation, several have rifles and shotguns, but they never shoot at the main character or his partner. The ones with knives seem fine with attacking, but not the ones with rifles and shotguns. Why? Who knows? And the ones with the knives are seldom if ever in the way of a good shot.

The motivation of the chief baddie is clear, no doubt. The reason his followers join his bring-about-the-apocalypse cult are not explained. They’re pretty much cultist drones doing evil because the cult needs evil drone cultist.

The main character has a badly-damaged leg by the final confrontation but still moves quickly enough when the plot demands it and even leaps out of the way of a couple of nasty attacks.

The main character is allegedly familiar with firearms, but keeps referring to what goes in a pistol as “shells.” Shells go in shotguns or artillery pieces. “Bullets” or “rounds” go in pistols. He picks up a shotgun which is then a rifle and then a shotgun again. The author also referrers to what a shotgun ejects after firing as a “shell” while it is in fact as “casing.” If an author uses unfamiliar technology in a story, they need to do the research.

People shot with shotguns go flying back in this story. Due to basic physics, if your target goes flying back, you should too - every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Getting hit with buckshot doesn’t turn you into an involuntary aerialist.

The final fight pits the main character and his (admittedly) huge, tough friend against a small army of armed cultists and a two-thousand-year-old supernatural entity, with all the baddies operating on familiar territory. The heroes are badly outnumbered and really shouldn’t win. If the cultists had used those guns, the ending of the book would definitely have been very different.

Profile Image for Jim.
132 reviews3 followers
June 4, 2019
The Stars Were Right by K. M. Alexander
Reviewed of a TBRindr copy from the author.

This is a noirish murder mystery in a post-Lovecraftian apocalypse city, when "the stars aligned" and various nefarious beasties arose to send the world into chaos. Now, however, things are overall OK, and the world seems at peace. It just happens to be populated by various non-human sentient races in addition to traditional humanity.

The story follows a caravan master named Mal Bell who returns from a voyage only to end up accused of an increasing number of murders--all the victims being people connected to his life. He goes on the run from police as well as the murderers he tries to clear his name and survive to the next day.

This was a fun little noir in the classic "fugitive" tradition. The characters were well built and natural, and the dialog was very smooth. I was eager to follow Mal's story to the end, and I was satisfied when I got there. This book kept the tension up and paced it right, and stuck a solid ending.

The Lovecraftian trappings, though, often struck me as just that: trappings. There are references galore to the mythos, and to other elements of classic weird literature, but in many cases they don't really impact the story. The fundamental conflict centers around a reference to Arthur Machen's work, but in many ways this same story could have been told about a cult in New York. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but I think a lot of fans of the Mythos works will feel slightly unfulfilled.

Apart from that, there are certain structural elements of the story that don't work for me. The opening flashback strikes me as mildly confusing, because it's actually a flashforward to something that happens in the first quarter of the book. However the book had no typos that I noticed, and the overall structure was pretty tight.

I enjoyed the book, and I was satisfied in the end.
That's all you can ask for, in the end!

I'd like to thank the author for the opportunity to read and review!
Profile Image for Eileen.
1,098 reviews61 followers
February 15, 2017
I had never heard of K.M. Alexander until he posted to the Cthulhu subreddit that his ebooks were on sale for only $.99. As both a diehard Lovecraft fan and a supporter of indie authors, I decided this seemed like a great deal, and wow, I was right! Alexander does a fantastic job evoking a tangled, towering city of hidden alleys, bustling markets, colorful inhabitants, and plenty of those hole-in-the-wall diners with the best local cuisine you've ever had. As a dedicated urbanist, I just love these fantastical, quasi-dystopic metros illustrated with so much life and texture. They feel so very real. Alexander cites Chine Mieville as an influence and Lovat indeed reminded me very much of New Crobuzon.

Though technically a Cthulhu Mythos story, The Stars Were Right largely avoids familiar names and places aside from the requisite gibbering cultists, a few oblique references to a sleeping monster and Shub-Niggurath, and some followers of Hastur and the Great God Pan. The setting is actually quite original, being several hundred or thousand years after the cosmos aligned and the Old Ones returned – and then apparently departed and left behind a ruined Earth that eventually evolved into a steampunk-type world shared by multiple sentient species. (Lovat was actually built on the ruins of Seattle.) Normally I don’t care for the “wrongfully accused fugitive from justice” plot, as I usually get too indignant on behalf of the protagonist and just end up speeding through to see them finally get justice. But The Stars Were Right is a VERY cool book and I definitely look forward to the rest of the series.
7 reviews
January 4, 2020
An awesome new world to obsess over!

This book did what no book since Stephen King's Dark Tower series has done for me which is get me as engrossed in the setting as much as the plot and characters. The Lovecraftian elements are perfectly balanced out as not to be over done and only add to a very original world with a rich (and mysterious) history. Great for anyone who likes there noir with a shot of weird.
15 reviews
April 9, 2021
Fantastic, entertaining read

I've had this book in my Kindle library for about a year now, and I am so glad that I finally decided to dive in.
From the first sentence, I was amazed at how rich and vibrant the characters and settings were. The narrative is very descriptive without being tedious. The
plot moves along at a swift pace as our hero sets out to prove his innocence when a string of bizarre murders get pinned on him.
I can't wait to dig into the next book!
July 18, 2022
A really different kind of fantasy novel, but very action packed. The world is especially really well imagined, with the descriptions of Lovat's layered construction actually an integral plot point. Definitely worth checking out!
Profile Image for Laura.
81 reviews
November 28, 2022
It was a fun read. I enjoyed the characters and the world in which they lived. I hope that when I get around to reading the next book, that Bell Caravans will be out on the road.
Profile Image for A. Fae.
Author 5 books58 followers
March 20, 2015
Oh great, another fantasy book, I thought. Although it is the primary genre we get requests for reviews for, I can honestly say that it has never been my favorite genre of book; but, we all occasionally grab one we aren’t necessarily fond of. So I pulled up my big girl panties and settled in to read The Stars Were Right by K.M Alexander.

Wow! Talk about knocking me off my snobbish pedestal. This book changed the way I look at fantasy as a whole. It was also loaded with a ton of what I’d consider mystery as well. I read straight through the night and couldn't put it down. Mr. Alexander is a wizard at creating a world one could only dream about.

Lovat is a large multi-leveled metropolitan city that has been built on many cities before it that have crumbled into the Sunk. I truly cannot do it justice but it reminded me of NYC far in the future where burrows remained that were known for specific ethnicities. Except in this futuristic tale, the ethnicities aren't quite as similar to one another as those of today
The residents of this metropolis range from human to dimanians -horned individuals - to enur - a sort of amphibian - to daugers - who wear brightly painted mask hiding all but their eyes- and other interesting species that make the metropolis quite the melting pot. They all live and work together just like in current day NYC.

Our narrator and protagonist is Waldo Emerson Bell, a caravan boss who returns with his crew and partner, Wensem,, from a long journey picking up goods to deliver them back to Lovat. It’s a month gone, but he takes off for a month when he returns. They deliver the cargo and prepare for a month in Lovat - which for Wensem is time with his newborn son and for Waldo it's just rest and relaxation. Though it seems as soon as Waldo begins to relax bodies start dropping around him, all ritualistic killings connected in some way to him.

What began as Waldo's one month vacation turned in to running from the cops who were hot on his tail, trying to escape the assassin who continues to kill those connected to him, and trying to solve the case a clear his name before more people die.

With mild nudity and violence, Mr. Alexander has created a world I became deeply immersed in. His imagery was unreal as he showed you the dark streets with sodium lights of level 2 instead of telling you. The smells of the noodle stands jumped right off the page. The only sunlight shines brightly in the sky from level seven and the buildings that rise above it. Mr. Alexander gives us the sights and sounds of it all.

I highly recommend this book even to those who might be weary of a fantasy book. I can't believe how much I loved it. If he writes another one I'll be the first in line.

A. Fae
5 reviews
February 7, 2016
A richly imagined, fast paced adventure story in a weirdly familiar world of various co-habitating original species. Includes a laconic assertion of mythic ambition, as if Johnny Cash were providing brief back-story for the apocalypse.

The prologue is a starting gun -- its crisp pop gets things moving and sets an ominous tone. The story slips a bit immediately after but gets stronger as it progresses.

The city of Lovat, where the action takes place, is a grand dream on the outrageous scale of a Terry Gilliam creation. It's provocative, and richly imagined -- I really wanted more information about how it came to be.

About a fifth of the way through, Waldo Bell--the caravan master telling the tale--really hits his narrative stride. While seemingly blase in the face of the endless curious miracles surrounding him (and who isn't, really?), Waldo relates to us the bumpy blow-by-blow from his blind date with fate, a long and colorful trek through Lovat. Among the madly shifting sets, a great ox-wain filled with the novel's fanciful troupe of supporting players--glowering, primping and poxy alike--heaves up to an elevated clapboard stage and each of them takes a turn under sodium lamps. As thunder rumbles off of tin sheets and the players declaim, the cleanly episodic narrative presents tableaus like visions from a peyote spiked bouillabaisse at an alien soup kitchen.

There are a few missteps, but if the company is a little drunk on their own outlandish impossibility, they're still skilled performers and good fun to watch. There's mystery and revelation, progressive dilapidation, teamwork, romantic infatuation, and some very bad... people(?). Enough of what counts to keep a reader anxiously turning pages and sipping chocolate.

Many interesting things happen in the final portion of the book, but whereas previously the inventiveness had been lightfooted and constant, here one has time to notice the sweat lines around the spirit gum. While it seems preposterous even to me to bring this objection up after such a wild ride, I did have problems with the logic of the final, extended scene.

In the end--reflecting on my time spent in Lovat, that hive-like city of ninety-three million sentient beings; the time I spent with my new friend Waldo Bell and his humane company of striving players--well, I want more.

Which brings me to a final note -- after reading the electronic edition, I bought a cloth-bound one for our Little Free Library. The cloth bound book is *absolutely beautiful.* Really, a pleasure to hold, a pleasure to read and a pleasure to look at. If you're a book lover, you should consider it.
Profile Image for Melissa.
48 reviews2 followers
February 25, 2015
The Stars Were Right is a great effort for a first book. Author K.M. Alexander creates a vivid and complex fantasy world with likeable characters.

The book is set in the city of Lovat, which is built up in levels. The higher levels are occupied by the rich and the lower levels are where the poor reside, not unlike a caste system. This reminds me of the city of Sharn in the Eberron setting of Dungeons and Dragons (which was one of my favorite 3.5 edition worlds). The world has a steampunk-fantasy feel, with modern elements; the police check for fingerprints, old people play Sudoku, and people watch black and white television. There are a variety of different humanoid races that populate the word.

A caravan owner, Waldo, gets charged with a murder that he did not commit and the story is of his efforts to clear his name and find the real killer. Religion is a focus of this story. Time periods are defined by religious events: the Pre-Aligning and the Aligning.

This story started off slow but picked up with a solid, well written ending. The descriptions at the end were great (very Lovecraftian) and the fight scenes were well-written. The protagonist loves food and there is much space devoted to him thinking about and descriptively eating food. I almost think this could be a new genre of hero: the foodie crime-solver? Food-porn horror fiction?
I wasn’t sure when the book would get Lovecraftian, but it became apparent towards the end. I don’t know if this would be an issue for most readers. I picked this up in the Lovecraft E-zine holiday sale, so I had some expectations. I would not consider this book horror or weird fiction, but more of a fantasy/adventure and mystery.

I figured out what was going on before the protagonist, not sure if the author intended the reader to pick this up or not. I spent part of the book just waiting to see how Waldo would handle things when he realized what was going on. I found myself falling out of suspension of disbelief at times, for instance when two people won a fight against fifty.

This was not a bad book; it could have been a little shorter in my opinion. I found myself skimming over some descriptions that I felt were somewhat repetitive or did not add to the story. Overall, the world and its inhabitants are wonderful, and I will be interested in reading more by this author and in this world. I was also impressed by the editing; I did not notice any typos, which usually plague small or self-published works.
Profile Image for Shannon Flowers.
71 reviews5 followers
September 18, 2014
One of the foundations of Lovecraftian fiction is the idea that at some point, the stars will be right and the Great Old Ones will return. In K.M. Alexander‘s The Stars Were Right we are presented with the world that is left after that happens.

Initially the setting in The Stars Were Right doesn’t come off as particularly Lovecraftian. The city of Lovat, where the story takes place, seems like are fairly typical fictional post-apocalyptic city. As the story progresses it becomes more clear that the apocalypse, rather than being a nuclear war, plague, or other more standard cause, was brought on by the previously mentioned return of the Great Old Ones. The Aligning, as it is called in the book, was an unspecified but very distant time in the past and civilization of a sort has been rebuilt with the addition of a wide variety of non-human species taken from Mythos lore. Serious Lovecraft aficionados may recognize the descriptions of some of the servitor races that inhabit Lovat but if you don’t it doesn’t really detract from the enjoyment of the book.

The Stars Were Right is the story of Waldo Bell, a caravan master that travels across the wastelands outside of Lovat transporting goods
between the scattered outposts of civilization. Bell returns to Lovat after a standard trip across “The Big 90″ as the road between towns is called and finds himself to be the prime suspect in a series of grisly murders. Bell has to evade the authorities in Lovat and the mysterious group who is actually responsible for the murders all while trying to find enough evidence to clear his name. The story is compelling with a likeable cast of characters but in my mind the standout feature of the book is the setting. K.M. Alexander does a very good job of revealing the world he has created as the story develops instead of laying it all out with awkward exposition, which would have been an easy trap to fall in to. I really hope that he takes advantage of this world he has built in future works because it seems like there is a lot of room for more stories in this setting.

The Stars Were Right is a very good read for fans of Lovecraftian fiction, post-apocalyptic fiction or just non-standard murder mysteries.
Profile Image for Joel Flank.
325 reviews4 followers
January 21, 2016
A wonderful first novel, The Stars Were Right is set in a world after Cthulhu and the First Ones came to Earth as in the Aligning, causing massive devastation. The world that Waldo Bell lives in is many hundreds or thousands of years afterwards, when a civilization has been reborn, but with all sorts of residents. Not only are humans around still, but deep ones, horned dimanians, octopoid celphels, seven fingered maero, hasturian priests, and more.

Waldo Bell returns to his home city of Lovat, a nine leveled metropolis built over the ruins of Seattle, and gets well paid for transporting an especially large piece of cargo. As he strolls his city, sampling his favorite foods, meeting with old acquaintances, and settling down for a month of well earned rest, things start to go awry. He starts getting odd looks, and before he knows it, it on tv as a wanted man. He's brought in by the police and told he's being arrested for murder, something he didn't do. Knowing something is seriously wrong, a daring escape leaves him public enemy number one. On the run from the police, he tries to piece together what he can learn about the grisly murders he's accused of. While trying to clear his name, he gets more and more embroiled in the continuing killing spree of a grisly killer, who takes different body parts from his victims, for some unknown purpose.

As the body count piles up, Waldo becomes more and more desperate. When he discovers that he's being hunted by a mysterious group in addition to the police, he becomes more and more deeply entwined in forces that threaten to shatter the world he lives in beyond simply his own life, and Waldo must find disparate allies and be willing to push his body to the limits to find a way out with his life and freedom intact. Alexander deftly merges the flavors of detective noir, the Fugitive, and HP Lovecraft into a bizarre world after a supernatural apocalypse, making a thrilling whole that is both different from out own, but still similar to the more mundane world we live in.
1 review2 followers
March 25, 2014
I fell in love with the protagonist Waldo from the start. Almost as much as I love the world in which he lives. The gritty, neon lit streets and layers of the city Lavat with it's diverse citizenship & classes, and the histories sewn into them, are a delight to read.

The pacing is near perfect. And the story is well-told and well thought out. It was a hard book to put down. So much so that I didn't and ended up regretting it at work the next day having had almost no sleep.

The only complaints I have are small. I felt the secondary characters could have used more depth and more time should have been spent building their personalities. Waldo's eventual love interest comes across as flat to me, so much of the protagonist's inner dialogue is dedicated to her yet they barely speak or interact (They do spend time together -- But these moments are glossed over without the reader being involved) and much of these infatuations come across as repetitive and superficial.

My only other issue is during the climax. The severity of Waldo's situation at the end, and the injuries he's enduring, are brought up so many times it ends up bogging down the excitement of the situation and I felt it became tedious. I understand the author's want to imbue his readers the severity of the situation, but once is enough, we won't forget :)

Other than that, I wholly enjoyed the novel, recommend it to everyone I know, and am immensely excited for K.M. Alexander's next novel.
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