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Arkham Horror #14

The Devourer Below

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The city of Arkham falls prey to ghoulish dread in this chilling anthology of action-packed adventure, from the bestselling world of Arkham Horror

Something monstrous has come to Arkham, Massachusetts. There have always been shadows here, but now a new hunger has risen from the depths and threatens those who dwell here. But there are heroes too – people who stand up and fight to stem the tide, even when it costs them everything. Explore eight shocking new tales of occult horror, captivating mystery, and existential fear – from a zealous new heroine to conniving cultists, bootleg whiskey to night terrors, and fiends that crawl from open graves. A nightmare has fallen across Arkham, and it will devour all.

320 pages, Paperback

First published July 6, 2021

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About the author

Josh Reynolds

49 books20 followers
Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

For the Black Library and horror author, see Joshua Reynolds.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 33 reviews
Profile Image for Lauren Stoolfire.
3,559 reviews259 followers
July 15, 2021
I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Devourer Below: An Arkham Horror Anthology edited by Charlotte Lleweln-Wells is a great collection of short historical fantasy horror short stories set in the world of the Arkham Horror Files universe. I'm not at all familiar with the board game that the books in this series are based on, but after having read Litany of Dreams (Arkham Horror #19) by Ari Marmell I knew I absolutely needed to read more of them. Luckily, this was a lot of 1920s set dark fantasy fun as well. All eight stories in this collection are strong reads and have done a great job of tiding me over until I have the chance to pick up more full length novels and further familiarize me with the universe of the series. I can't wait to read more from this series and maybe even try the board game.
Profile Image for Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede.
1,938 reviews786 followers
March 25, 2023
An excellent anthology of Arkham horror stories. There are 8 stories and I enjoyed them all. Some I enjoyed more than others but no story was terrible or so-s0. That's quite an achievement because many anthologies I've read often have both good and bad stories. I listened to the audiobook version. Jennifer Jill Araya did a great job and I hope to get to chance to listen to more books narrated by her.

I recommend this book to everyone that loves reading Arkham horror stories. Or just paranormal horror stories.
Profile Image for Paulo "paper books always" Carvalho.
1,129 reviews58 followers
October 8, 2021
This was the first anthology in Arkham Horror series published by Aconyte
On contrary of most people here I didn't receive this book for free. I have to purchase them so my review will be , as always true... well to myself at least.

What can I say? This is a collection of short stories most of them interconnected by two things - one some characters do jump around from one tale to another and the monster of the week is Umôrdhoth and all stories are connected to him our his cultists.

To be quite honest there isn't a single story I should say it's brillant. To be quite honest they all seem blanad with except of Thomas Parrot duolohy (there are two linked storeis). The last story joins most characters from other stories and finish (some kind of finish - status quo must be maintain as you are writing in a share universe).

Well, all of these stories had some characters that we can play as investigators and others as carts. They all have somekind of background and the writers, I believe, are free to conjure the rest and give adventures BUT mainting the status quo. So, an investigator cannot be killed or become crazy and so. When you make a character like that your main character as a reader you know nothing bad will happen and thus the tale looses a bit of magic. The same happens with the main villain (villains). If you kill them the game ends and Call of Cthulhu never ends.

So, what did I think of the stories...
Some were more revenge, others more investigation kind of stories, one was back in time story , one was a more in a perspective a of a cultist . The last tale is the best one of the bunch.

First of all, these authors know that this tales are set in 1920's? Yeah? Gay Rights were not a priority ye know? But at least two of our characters were gay (lesbian). Why had you the need to add lesbian characters in tales they have no meanitng whatsoever?
Besides the lesbians in two stories, no other characters (I would say non-gay) mentioned their loved ones OR even their sexuality. But Lesbians? The authors had to say several times about them. You know what this means correct? Pandering. It's like now they can go on twitter and say - hey my story had a lesbian couple. Next one will have a POC and I will feel all the boxes and you shouldn't cancel me, right?
That's it.
That part was un-necessary, unrealistic (yeah people didn't care about gay people back in 1920's.

But overall they are just okish stories. Nothing to praise a lot but reading about the characters you usually play it was good.
Profile Image for By Book and Bone (Sally).
438 reviews11 followers
July 22, 2022
The Devourer Below has an interesting set up. It's an anthology of short stories all based around one cannibalistic cult and their eldritch god. Like many short story collections, there are great entries and mediocre entries but in this case, most of the short stories are pretty great.

The exact nature of the devourer and the cult (there's also ghouls and bird monsters?) is a bit muddled, seemingly due to the several different writers. Though it could be that no one pov really knew what was going on.
Profile Image for Jenn Howlett.
Author 4 books22 followers
June 6, 2021
The Devourer Below is a short story anthology from the Arkham Horror setting – dealing with scenes of cosmic horror; dealing with unknowable horror rather than relying upon shock or violent horror. In The Devourer Below, there is a central theme to each of the short stories concentrating on one particular deity throughout the series of works. Each story within is written by a different author – aside from one which comes as a two-part series.

Running the Night Whiskey – Evan Dicken

A very solid start to the short story collection focusing on Leo, a lovable rogue who, along with a recently returned friend embarks on an illegal importing run. A fast-paced adventure novel that brings with it the undertones of something much more sinister.

The two central characters in this novel are well-written and have a flavor of their own while also working well together. The plot of exciting in itself and has scenes that dip into the overall feeling of horror. Each of the individual scenes was clear in their intent and there is a real feeling of connection with the characters and their thoughts and feelings to what was happening around them.

This short story sets the tone for the rest of the series of work and gives the first glimpse of the overall theme of the future stories.

Shadows Dawning – Georgina Kamsika

Selfishly, I enjoyed this particular short story for the central character – Lita Chandler – who has turned up in a game that I play with my regular gaming group. It was insightful to read more of her back story and discovering more about her. There was a real feeling of desperation from the central character in her desire to uncover the truth behind a life-shattering event for her and I did find myself rooting for her tragic, yet, heroic cause.

As a story, I did find it somewhat weaker than others in the novel and a bit lacking in the ‘horror’ department. As a short story, there wasn’t anything wrong with it per say, but I didn’t connect with the plot as easily as some of the other stories within the collection.

The Hounds Below – Josh Reynolds

Mr. Holsten is a journalist investigating the unsettling peculiarity of anthropophagic compulsion and seeks out mental asylum inmate Mr. Drew in order to aid him on his quest for knowledge.

Featuring a broken narrative and a flash-back that details Mr. Drew’s descent into the affliction, The Hounds Below is one of the strongest short stories in the anthology – chilling and intense, this one was a real page-turner; filled with enough mystery to keep the reader guessing and a horrific twist of a conclusion.

Labyrinth – Thomas Parrott

The first of a two-parter in the anthology, setting the scene with Private Investigator Joe Diamond, who is on the case trying to save the life of Nadia Leandros. The investigation takes him to the Miskatonic Universities Library where we’re transported back in time to the era of Mythical Greece, where a truly horrifying scene is set.

An atmospheric short story that keeps the overarching theme running throughout the rest of the series. While I had some struggles with the jump in time and wondering where the story was heading (not realizing that it was going to be picked up again later in Sins in the Blood) I was left wondering if I’d missed something!

Still another solid entry in the collection.

All my Friends are Monsters – Davide Mana

A mystery-themed horror novel that focuses on Ruth Turner, morgue worker by day, cross-dressing, speak-easy visiting, aficionado by night. Blackmailed by powerful individuals to ‘turn the other way’ in regards to aspects of her job, she makes a new set of ‘friends’ that threaten her blossoming relationship with Charlie.

Of all the stories in the anthology, this one was my personal favorite. I found it had a chilling atmosphere, despite some of the more upbeat elements to the story. There is a tragedy to Ruth and the events she endures and I found myself connecting to her plight. The plot felt more engaging and gripped me more than some of the other stories on offer, with a pace that felt well-considered and came to a chilling crescendo.

The Darkling Woods – Cath Lauria

Wendy and James are orphans on the run. Escaping the clutches of gang hierarchy on Arkhams docks brings them to a run-down hostel in Riverside; near the Arkham Woods.

I wasn’t such a fan of this particular short story. I found the characters more difficult to connect to and their plight felt forced somehow. It wasn’t a poorly written story, but I did feel that there was something lacking on the horror level. Whereas the other stories all led to a chilling conclusion, this one didn’t feel like it had the same level of threat compared.

Professor Warren’s Investiture – David Annandale

Professor Peter Warren has been gathering evidence for his life's work for the past 20ish years. Working doggedly to explain some of life's greater mysteries – too much mockery by his colleagues at the Miskatonic University. Frustration abounds, Peter finds himself at the Orne library where everything he wanted is delivered.

An interesting take on the overall theme of the stories! It offers a different insight into the cultists that have shown their faces time and again throughout the series. Offering a different perspective to the heroes and villains trope. While Professor Warren isn’t the easiest character to relate to his motivations are highly understandable due to the treatment he endures at the hands of his peers. It’s an engaging short story that had me partially enjoying and somehow cringing for the blindness of the lead character; very well written to inspire such conflicted emotions.

Sins in the Blood – Thomas Parrott

In the concluding half of Labyrinth, building on the knowledge that has been imparted through research, Joe Diamond must do what he can in order to save Nadia Leandros the same fate suffered by her bloodline.

Sadly, I struggled with this particular short story; while it stands up as a good conclusion to the previous part, there were some characters that I struggled to connect with. I found waitress Agnes, was overbearing and tried to steal the show from Joe Diamond, rather than complimented him. The conclusion of the story was well-considered and brought the anthology to a sublime ending – just a shame it was hindered by such a bolshy character trying to shoe-horn her way into an otherwise decent plot.

Overall, I enjoyed the anthology and found the collection of short stories thrilling and chilling. As always, there were stories that I enjoyed and preferred over others – this is always going to be the case with short story collections – some conveyed the chilling horror of the Lovecraftian-inspired Arkham more successfully than others.

Some characters will connect more than others, some will even inspire insipid amounts of hatred. Due to the nature of the short story, I did feel that some characters weren’t as well developed or considered compared to others and while the overall theme of The Devourer Below was carried between each of the short stories at times I did feel that there was something lacking in the horror elements of the stories. None-to-often did it seem that there was much to cause our heroes any real level of concern for their overall well-being. They seemed to deal with what they were seeing with relative ease; considering the vastness of what they were having to contend with.

Each of the stories is of just the right length for the anthology, not once did I find myself becoming bored with any of the particular stories, and nor did I feel like any of them were too short. They filled the time away over several evenings, taking my time to digest the information within.

The Devourer Below does a fantastic job of setting the scene for the Arkham Horror setting for those new to the world – giving a fantastic, collective, glimpse into the abject horror that can be found in the ill-fated city.
39 reviews
July 11, 2022
A solid anthology series. The threads mesh together well and the stories are well crafted. The characters are fleshed out and believable. I have never played Arkham Horror, but didn't feel impeded in enjoying these tales.
Profile Image for Nicole Franklin.
44 reviews
June 12, 2021
Thank you to Aconyte and Netgalley for the e-ARC!

Arkham Horror is pretty much my favourite tabletop franchise outside of RPGs, so getting approved for this delicious little anthology just about made my day. In other words – I had expectations. And I was not disappointed.

First of all, I just have to scream about that cover art for a second! It’s stunning!? And honestly, I want it on my bookshelf, right now. As for the stories within; I feel like everyone involved brought their A game, and really managed to bring Arkham to life, in all its pulpy, cultist-infested glory.

I wouldn’t say you have to be familiar with the games to get a kick out of this, it does more than enough to stand on its own just fine for those looking for cosmic horror of the Lovecraftian tradition, with the added benefit of ditching the hateful nonsense and the more boring tropes common in his works. The eight short stories all revolve around the same deity, The Devourer, but aside from that, every story shake things up with a new focus and perspective on just what’s loose on Arkham’s streets today, complete with origin stories and showdowns. Seems to me like everyone included here had fun messing around with the setting and time period, and the end result is super on point and very solid. Collections are really hard for me to rate, for many reasons, but this is definitely a good one. There are no bad stories here – they all work on their own, and as part of a larger whole, with a consistent vibe and coherent depictions of the world and its inhabitants, building on top of each other as you go through. If I had to pick favourites, it’d probably be the ones that dive the most into The Devourer, of which there are a few, if only because of how gruesome a lot he and his following is. Nasty stuff, but it's just so much fun, and exactly what I’m here for.

Great for the general horror fan and Arkham players alike, this is easy to recommend, and finding out that a bunch of these books exist, I’ll definitely be picking up the rest!
Profile Image for Vivienne.
Author 2 books90 followers
July 8, 2021
“a dark shadow grows over the town of Arkham. Alien entities known as Ancient Ones lurk in the emptiness beyond space and time, writhing at the thresholds between worlds. Occult rituals must be stopped and alien creatures destroyed before the Ancient Ones make our world their ruined dominion.”

My thanks to Aconyte Books for a digital review copy of ‘The Devourer Below: An Arkham Horror Anthology’ edited by Charlotte Llewelyn-Wells in exchange for an honest review.

Arkham Horror is a highly popular board game set in 1920s Massachusetts. It is inspired by the cosmic horror fiction of H.P. Lovecraft. Players take on the roles of investigators that are set against a sweeping tide of occult activity aimed at resurrecting alien gods who will consume our world.

This anthology contains eight stories that expand on this theme, with various folk getting themselves into spots of bother. The presence of the Devourer Below runs through a number of the tales.

As with any anthology there were stories that had a stronger appeal for me. One of my favourites here was the two-parter by Thomas Parrott that drew on the myth of the labyrinth of King Minos and a link down the centuries to Arkham. My other favourite was the quirky ‘All My Friends Are Monsters’ by Davide Mana.

It’s been quite a few years since I have played Arkham Horror, so I am a bit out of touch with the game. For example, some of the characters that appear in the game feature in these stories. Not that it’s necessary to be aware of this to enjoy reading this collection.

However, I would have appreciated a short introduction to each story or some kind of linking material rather than just moving from story to story.

Overall, I felt that this was an entertaining horror anthology with plenty of chills.

On a side note, I found the cover art very striking.

3.5 stars rounded up to 4.

Profile Image for Ayre.
861 reviews32 followers
July 24, 2021
This is a short story collection set in the Arkham Horror Universe, a table top game based on Lovecraftian mythos. All of the stories in this book happen in the 1920s in a city called Arkham (this city is based on Salem, Mass from one of Lovecrafts short stories). WW1 either caused or was caused by Eldritch gods attempting to come into our realm and the cultists of Umôrdhoth are causing mayhem in Arkham. The short stories follow unlikely heroes in their attempt to save lives.

For the most part these stories aren't particularly frightening in any way, although they are often gross because of the body horror. For the most part these read like private eye short stories with a horror twitst. One of the things I enjoy most about these stories is that the "good guys" aren't particularly good people, they're morally grey at best.

My favorite story in this collection was "Labyrinth" which is a story within a story. A detective is trying to track down why people with a specific birthmark are being targeted by cultists and a librarian tracks down a story of how these people are decedents of Ariadne of Crete and the Minotaur and Labyrinth tale is actually based on Minos gaining his wealth though Umôrdhoth. This was a very cool retelling. None of the other stories really stood out but, overall, if you like the 1920s golden age of detective fiction AND Lovecraftian horror you'll probably enjoy this universe.

I did receive a digital ARC of this book from Netgalley. I was not required to leave this review.
Profile Image for Chris.
338 reviews4 followers
March 15, 2023
I liked the anthology approach. It allowed the central plot to be seen from multiple angles including people fighting against the cult, victims and even people being inducted into the cult while also being novel length. Where the previous novels showed the plot from a sole perspective this one showed multiple perspectives and how different people might see the ongoing plot.

Also, really emphasizes what a darn stressful place Arkham would be to live in. If it ain't the ghouls lurking in the shadows then there's always a doomsday cult or two lurking in the shadows. Makes you wonder why anyone sticks around.

I did find the ending a little disappointing. . But each individual story was good in itself, I was just hoping for a more cohesive whole.
July 18, 2021
It's nice to see the same characters and stories from Arkham horror boardgames in this book. It fleshes them out a bit and makes the games more enjoyable after reading this.

I always liked anthology stories (and movies) because stories are condensed and diverse.

One story surprised and amused me particularly, the one where a Greek myth of Theseus and Minotaur was reimagined with ghouls and Umordoth (main monster of the book) as the true villains and the ones that were in reality collecting Athenian tributes. Minotaur was not real, ancient people invented it to fit their culture and myths because ignorance in face of true evil is bliss.

Since I am an avid fan of classical history and myths this story scored some points for me :)

This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
May 31, 2021
Thank you to Aconyte Books and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of this anthology in exchange for an honest review.

"The Devourer Below" gives eight short horror tales, each one providing more windows into the world of Arkham, Massachusetts, and its strange, terrifying happenings. The "hunger" that has overtaken the town unfolds bit by bit with each tale, from the origin of its lore to the story's present, and with that, the reader is left with a very well-rounded and overall satisfying story as each piece connects itself.

While each of the eight stories does give overall information on the lore for this "hunger", there were only two that I was really blown away by. That's not to say that the remaining stories were uninteresting or poorly written, because they certainly weren't, they just lacked that OOMPH and hook that keeps me turning pages with excitement. Stephen King referred to it as the "gotta" in "Misery" ("I gotta know how this ends", "I gotta stay up a bit longer to see what happens in this chapter"), and that's where the majority of these tales fell flat for me.

That said, I did enjoy the puzzle aspect of this anthology, where each story continued to build the lore and background to this horror in Arkham. If you enjoy horror anthologies, especially with a bit of a Lovecraftian vibe, I would definitely recommend this. To me, the tie-in with Greek mythology in the "Labyrinth" story, and the "Silence of the Lamb" vibes in "The Hounds Below" would be worth picking this one up.

"The Devourer Below" will be out on July 6, 2021!

Profile Image for Michael Dodd.
952 reviews62 followers
July 6, 2021
Edited by Charlotte Llewelyn-Wells, The Devourer Below is part of Aconyte Books’ growing range of Arkham Horror fiction and features eight short stories from seven different authors all exploring a sinister presence rising in Arkham. Dangerous deals are being made, threats issued, lives devastated and plots hatched, monsters emerging and reluctant heroes standing up, all in the name of or in defiance of a darkness that few truly understand. From local landmarks to the dark countryside that borders the city, detectives and grieving widows to bootleggers and vagrant children, these stories explore Arkham and its inhabitants in dark, unsettling detail, united by a common theme – sometimes overt, other times implied – of a monstrous, corrupting power and the sinister servants it can call upon.

Overall it errs more on the side of the pulp adventure aspect of the setting, with lots of action that keeps the pace moving without ever dominating, but there’s more than enough creepy creatures, evil people and looming, ominous darkness to satisfy fans of the occult horror lurking at the heart of the setting. Anthologies inevitably offer something different to full-length novels, taking a broader view on the subject matter rather than digging deep into one set of characters and ideas, but by focusing on a single cohesive theme this manages to work as both a compelling and characterful overview of what Arkham Horror has to offer and a clever exploration of one aspect of the setting. As always with Aconyte’s impressive (and ever-growing) range, it also finds a satisfying balance between being detailed enough for existing fans of this IP and accessible enough for readers taking their first steps into Arkham Horror fiction. All told it’s fun, suitably creepy, wonderfully varied and consistently entertaining. What more could we ask for?

Read the full review at https://www.trackofwords.com/2021/06/...
July 28, 2021
I’m a huge fan of Aconyte Books and the many board games and role-playing games that they are adapting into novels and anthologies, and I’ve been deeply impressed by the way in which they have slowly but surely expanded the range of properties to develop while still consistently retaining the high quality of prose, covers and authors shown in their earliest releases despite now having published dozens of titles. Of all of their product lines, I’ve most enjoyed their relaunching of the venerable Arkham Horror setting – the cover art has been absolutely stunning, the choice of authors inspired, and the stories themselves anything but cliched and boring. So I was delighted to see that an Arkham Horror anthology was due to be released entitled The Devourer Below, collecting together eight stories by a variety of authors – both those like Josh Reynolds who have previously written Arkham Horror titles, and those new to the corrupted, sea salt-tinged Jazz Age corruption of the New England town. I was particularly excited to see Thomas Parrott had a story in the Table of Contents – Parrott is a talented up-and-coming author able to write fantastic stories across a variety of genres, and I was curious to see what spin he would put on Arkham and its inhabitants. Taken together with that cover art by John Coulthart – simultaneously lavish and unsettling – it was a package I couldn’t wait to devour – or perhaps get devoured in turn!

The collection opens with Running the Night Whiskey by Evan Dicken, an author I was familiar with from reading his superb Warhammer: Age of Sigmar novella The Red Hours, one of the finest novellas to be recently published by Black Library. Leo De Luca is an independent producer of moonshine in Arkham, and was doing just swell until local hoodlum Johnny V paid off local law enforcement to smash up his stills and seize his goods. Now owing a large amount of money to the gangster, a scuffle with his enforcers one night leads Leo to a fortunate encounter with an old friend from his days in the trenches over in France. The friend – Donny – gives Leo an offer that seems too good to be true – accompany him across the Canadian border to meet with a strange man brewing a potent new moonshine known as ‘night whiskey’ and smuggle it back into Arkham. A single trip would see Leo clear his debts and then some, so despite his concerns he agrees to join Donny on the trip. A strange Model T trailing the two men, a flooded town supposedly full of witches who kidnapped children, and the strange behaviour of the man selling the night whiskey all serve to put Leo on edge; and once they’ve picked up their illicit cargo, there’s a thrilling, edge-of-your-seat car chase between Leo’s supercharged car and his new opponents, crashing through fields and tearing along country roads. Evading pursuit is just the beginning, however, as Leo soon discovers that the night whiskey attracts a completely new – and disturbingly inhuman – kind of attention than he’s used to getting. Fast-paced and cinematic, with punchy prose and a chilling atmosphere as the true nature of the night whiskey is slowly revealed, Dicken provides a great start to the collection. It’s followed by Shadows Dawning by Georgina Kamsika, an author I wasn’t familiar with prior to starting the collection. Litany Chantler didn’t have the best relationship with her husband, a local butcher, but there were rare moments of happiness: cut short by his brutal murder. Now she works her way through the darkness of Arkham, following a chain of people, places and clues to hunt her husband’s murderers. Why doesn’t she call the police? Because his killers aren’t normal men – they’re cultists and ghouls, inhuman beings who gutted her husband for refusing to hand over his meat for their rituals. It’s an intriguing angle on the Arkham Horror setting, and Kamsika does a fantastic job of developing the concept: Lita isn’t a noirish detective or moonshine-runner with a fast car. She’s just an ordinary citizen of Arkham caught up in occult machinations, and trying to get revenge as best she can in a world where you can only trust yourself, and the authorities are either indifferent, or members of the cult themselves. Kamsika gives us an atmospheric, thought-provoking and original take on the Arkham Horror setting; it’s one of the best stories in the entire collection, and one I’d be keen to see expanded upon.

Josh Reynolds is not only one of my favourite authors generally, in my opinion he’s also one of the best authors writing for Aconyte Books right now, able to deftly turn his hand to whichever property he’s writing about. His recent novel Wrath of N’Kai demonstrated his innate understanding of Arkham Horror as a setting and how to get the most out of it, and his story in this collection, The Hounds Below, is no different. Holsten is an amateur writer attempting to interview Phillip Drew, a man accused of cannibalism and a host of other horrific crimes, and now residing in Arkham Sanatorium. Begrudgingly granted an interview with Drew by the inmate’s clinicians, Holsten meets the strange man, who lurks naked in a deliberately darkened cell to avoid hurting eyes now sensitive to even the smallest amount of light, and hears the story behind his condition and subsequent incarceration. But it soon becomes clear as the narrative progresses that both inmate and interviewer have secrets that are not immediately apparent, and what starts as a simple interview soon escalates into something far more sinister – and with potentially fatal consequences. Drawing on one of Lovecraft’s most well-known stories to create some interesting parallels, and linking into the overarching narrative of the machinations of the mysterious Cult of Umôrdhoth as it spreads throughout Arkham, Reynolds deftly weaves a compelling and atmospheric story with a delightfully disquieting ending.

Labyrinth is the first of Thomas Parrot’s duology of stories in the collection, and concerns Joe Diamond, one of the city’s many private eyes; he receives an anonymous package with photographs and copies of police files. A stranger to Arkham, intensely paranoid, recently killed by something that made him rot from the heart outwards. A young woman harassed by strange whispers and shadowy figures. The strange tattoo linking them both together. Unable to sit back and let someone head towards a seemingly certain death, Diamond begins investigating the strange tattoo and the forces behind it. But what does it have to do with ancient mythology – and the strange story of Prince Theseus and the Cretian Labyrinth? And of the strange cult infesting the island? This is one of the few stories that seems to actually bring Arkham itself- its architecture, its atmosphere, its unique character – into the reader’s head, portraying it in a manner I’ve not quite seen before; but then from my experience of his previous works, Parrot is a master of atmosphere and bringing settings to life. Exactly the same can be applied to ancient Crete when the story travels back in time – it’s another well-protected location, infested with some genuinely unsettling enemies and imbued with a dark atmosphere. Taken together with the clever retelling of a certain mythological tale, and you have a stand-out tale in an already stand-out collection.

Moving into the latter half of the collection, All My Friends Are Monsters

by Davide Mana is an unusual story, in which Ruth, a mortuary worker, finds forbidden love in the murky depths of a speakeasy, only to be blackmailed by Umôrdhoth cultists into letting them take corpses from the mortuary in exchange for their silence about her ‘immoral’ activities. Mana gives us an artful study of a normal resident of Arkham once again caught up in the insanity bubbling away just underneath the city’s surface, and the mental and physical damage that exposure to that insanity does to them. Ruth becomes more and more detached from her life, watching hideous ghouls take away abandoned corpses from the mortuary, and trying to balance an illicit relationship with the woman she loves. There are some unsettling allusions that Mana draws between these different groups and their need to stay under society’s radar, and it’s a thoughtful and thought-provoking piece of writing that greatly enhances the collection.

The Darkling Woods by Cath Lauria takes the intriguing idea to focus on Wendy and James, a pair of street-smart urchins making a living on the grim, shadowy streets of Arkham through thievery and other illicit activities, just trying to stay alive and ahead of the law – and other, far more dangerous groups. Wendy generally understands which people to rob and which to avoid, but on the run from a vicious gang leader, she and James arrive at a boarding house run by Mrs Duncan. Seemingly friendly at first, as the hours go by the landlady becomes more and more sinister in her intentions, especially when she strong-arms Wendy into going into the war by forest; the deep, dark, creepy forest that the drunk bootlegger at the bar warns her against. Armed only with her wits and her mother’s special amulet, Wendy must save herself and her brother from the things in the woods. Great atmosphere, some subtle but engaging characterisation, and an intriguing object in the form of the amulet, make this a memorable story by Lauria.

The collection’s penultimate story, Professor Warren’s Investiture, is by Warhammer veteran David Annaldale, and an author I consider to be a deeply accomplished scifi and horror writer; his entries in the Warhammer Horror imprint have been some of the best fiction ever published by Black Library. Taking us to the Anthropology Department of Miskatonic University, Annandale focuses on Peter Warren, professor of Anthropology and a man who has been obsessively working on a book about the occult for several decades now. A book, so Warren hopes, will impose a system of order on the chaos that is occult lore; somehow categorise the uncategorisable. Approached by a new colleague, someone claiming to truly understand what it is he is trying to achieve, Warren soon finds himself immersed to far greater depths of occult knowledge – and far worse things – than he could ever have imagined. Annandale weaves a tale that is horrifying and unsettling in equal measures, as he demonstrates that knowledge is never neutral – and always has a price. Thomas Parrott finishes the collection with the second of his stories, Sins in the Blood, continuing the story of P.I. Joe Diamond and his investigation into the cult. Parrott has the difficult job of tying up the entire collection, pulling together those various strands that have been gathering together in the previous stories, and in the hands of a less talented and assured writer this might have been a stumbling block. Fortunately, however, the talented Parrott is more than up to the task, imbuing both his own story and these narrative threads with energy, imagination and a healthy dose of black humour. Demonstrating an innate understanding of the core concept that makes the Arkham Horror setting so engaging, Parrott gives us a story in which the dread forces are thrown back and thwarted, but only at horrifying cost – and only ever temporarily.

The Devourer Below is both a hugely impressive collection of Arkham Horror short stories, and also a fascinating success story in terms of creating a shared worldbuilding experience within that setting. Not only are each of the stories engaging, atmospheric and deeply compelling slices of Jazz Age horror fiction by themselves, but editor Charlotte Llewelyn-Wells has ensured that every tale progresses the overarching narrative of the horrifying activities and occult plots of the Cult of Umôrdhoth, developing a cohesive and chilling meta-narrative that comes to an action-packed and quietly unsettling conclusion. It’s another success story for Llewelyn-Wells and Aconyte Books, as well as each of the authors represented in the collection, and particularly so for several authors whose stories stood out to me as particularly compelling and engaged with the setting. Georgina Kamsika’s sobering and deftly-judged story of an average citizen trying to find some measure of vengeance against a cult enmeshed in an entire city was a stand-out tale for me that stuck with me for a while after finishing the collection. And Thomas Parrott’s duology of tales featuring a Private Investigator could easily have lapsed into bland clichés and generic genre tropes, but instead shone because of the energy and wit Parrott poured into his prose, and the imaginative, intricate plotting. Both authors feel like they would be ideal candidates for future novels in the series, and I eagerly await any future work from them in the Arkham Horror setting – or any other publications from Aconyte Books.
Profile Image for Amy Walker  - Trans-Scribe Reviews.
799 reviews11 followers
July 17, 2021
The Devourer Below is the first anthology book in the ever popular Arkham Horror book series, and takes readers on a host of adventures around the titular city as ordinary folk, private investigators, and monster hunters come face to face wit enigmatic cults, twisted monstrosities, and the ancient evil that connects them all; Umôrdhoth, the Devourere Below.

The first story in this collection, 'Running the Night Whiskey' by Evan Dicken is a great way to kick things off, and introduces us to several ideas that will make repeat appearances across the book. The story follows Leo, a former soldier in the Great War turned into a bit of a rogue, who upon finding himself in some trouble with local bootleggers and gangsters, agrees to help an old friend from the army smuggle some illegal booze into Arkham.

Over the course of this story we get to know Leo, and learn about his history both as a criminal and his time in the war. Dicken gives several curve balls across the narrative, letting you think one particular thing is going to happen before subtly subverting your expectations, before the final horrific revelations. The story introduces the entity of Umôrdhoth, the cults that worship him, the ghouls that serve him, as well as the idea that there are people in the world who oppose these forces, and are willing to fight against them.

'Shadows Dawning' by Georgina Kamsika tells the story of Lita Chandler, a recently widowed woman whose husband was targeted and killed by a cult. Not knowing who in Arkham she can trust anymore, but knowing that the cult is still out there, Lita enters a desperate mission to find answers as to why her husband was killed, as well as taking revenge against those who took him from her.

There's a sense of desperation to this story, as Lita struggles to find answers and to stay alive in the face of these evil people that really transports you into her shoes. Even as a reader you never know what's going to come next, you're always on guard waiting for a sudden attack to come, and you're never sure who Lita should be trusting. It really sells the insidiousness of the cults in Arkham, how they seem to be everywhere and everyone, yet also impossible to find when you want to.

'The Hounds Below' by Josh Reynolds is one of the more chilling stories in the collection, and revisits one of the ideas first suggested in 'Running the Night Whiskey'; that the battlefields of World War One played host to ghouls and monsters. The story sees an investigative journalist visiting an asylum in Arkham, hoping to talk to a man who has been locked away for cannibalism.

Over the course of watching this reporter talk to the cannibal we get to discover that he was set on this path of killing and eating people thanks to the war and the horrors that he saw there, both human horror, and those much older. It gives us a disturbing insight into how a regular person can begin to find themselves serving the darker forces of the universe, and how close we all are to pure evil under the right circumstances.

Thomas Parrott makes two contributions to this collection, in a story that gets spread out over the course of the book. The first, 'Labyrinth' sees private investigator Joe Diamond getting wind of a possible case connected to the occult. A woman named Nadia Leandros has the same strange birth mark as a man recently found murdered, and the young woman has begun to complain about strange dreams, and people following her. Joe sets out to try and dig up some background information on the case, and with the help of a fried discovers that it might be connected to the secret of what really inspired the myth of the Labyrinth of Knossos.

This story lays the seeds for the rest of the tale, which comes at the end of the collection, but manages to craft it's own satisfying and engaging narrative as Joe is told the 'real' story of what happened to the hero Theseus. With every other story in this collection, and most stories involving the Lovecraft mythology, set within the last hundred years or so it makes for a wonderful and striking change to see this mythology meeting the myths of Ancient Greece.

Davide Mana's 'All My Friends Are Monsters' tells the story of Ruth Turner, a woman who works in the local morgue by day, but spends her nights dressed as a man drinking in the local speak-easy's. With Ruth visiting the illegal drinking establishments, wearing 'mens' clothing, and being in a relationship with a woman she's worried one day when she's approached by a couple of people who ask her to turn a blind eye to them claiming a few bodies in exchange for them staying quite about her own activities.

This story shows us how easy it is to dragged into something that is out of your control, where you can see something awful taking place, yet are powerless to do anything about it. Not only that, but over the course of the story we get to see Ruth going from appalled by what she sees happening, to strangely indifferent. The way Mana looks at how people can become desensitised by the things around them, to the point where the monstrous can become the mundane is deeply chilling.

'The Darkling Woods' by Cath Lauria tells the tale of two young orphans living on the streets of Arkham who decide to try and and get off the streets for a night. Geting away from the gangs and dangers of the docks, the two of them head into the city where they convince the owner of a small boarding house to let them rent a room for the night. But they soon discover that perhaps the streets are a little safer when the owner takes an unusual interest in them.

This is the only story in the collection that doesn't focus on adults, and frames children as the lead characters, which definitely makes it stand out a lot. So often with the Arkham Horror franchise we see adults having to deal with these issues, discovering the existence of existential horrors and cults that I never actually considered how a child would fare with doing the same. It frames the whole thing a new way, one that I'd love to see done again in the future.

'Professor Warren's Investiture' by Davidd Annandale tells the story of Professor Peter Warren, a somewhat looked down upon member of the Miskatonic University. Warren has spent years gathering information and notes on what he believes to be the greater mysteries of the universe, things that see his colleague mocking him and his life's endeavour. However, when he's approached by a woman who shares his interest, and offers him new evidence that will help his work it takes him in a dangerous new direction.

I found this story to be incredibly interesting, as it really went into Warren's obsession, and how it transforms him and consumes him to a point where it pushes him towards the very evil that he's trying to learn about. So often in these stories we discover people who are already involved in the cults, who're zealots and believers, so getting to see how someone gets twisted into that, how they come to accept these evils and enjoy it makes for an insightful story.

The final story in the collection, 'Sins in the Blood' by Thomas Parrott, continues the story of private investigator Joe Diamond as he and an ally of his, a magic practising waitress named Agnes, set out to help Nadia Leandros, and break the curse upon her family bloodline that will soon lead to her death. Unfortunately, this means that the three of them will have to not only deal with the deadly cultists that are closing in on them, but will have to perform a dangerous ritual that could destroy them all.

Whilst very different from the first part of this story, 'Sins in the Blood' works well as a conclusion to this tale, and shifts it's focus from investigating into the past to fighting for survival in the present. It's one of the more action packed entries in this collection, and is a great not to end things on. The story also makes me want to read more about Joe and his fight against the evils in Arkham; so I'm hoping this could be a character that Reynolds comes to again some day.

I've really enjoyed the Arkham Horror novels I've read, and have found them to be some incredibly creepy and compelling horror mystery stories, so I'm absolutely over the moon to see these tales work so well in short story form too, and I'm excited to see more anthology books like this. Whether you're a long time fan of the series, or looking for some shorter fiction to try out before making the big plunge, The Devourer Below is the ideal read.

Profile Image for whatemsreadingx.
204 reviews7 followers
July 3, 2021
𝟰 𝘀𝘁𝗮𝗿𝘀 𝗿𝗼𝘂𝗻𝗱𝗲𝗱 𝘂𝗽 𝗳𝗿𝗼𝗺 𝗮𝗻 𝗮𝘃𝗲𝗿𝗮𝗴𝗲 𝗼𝗳 𝟯.𝟱

Running The Night Whiskey by Evan Dicken - 3 stars.
I did enjoy this one, even though it was a bit slow to get started and to get to the main point of the story. That being said, I understand why it was a bit slower, it was the first story in the anthology and it needed to set the scene more so and introduce us. I would have preferred a bigger focus on the ghouls and their backstory and less on our characters getting chased etc. My favourite part of this story though was how it constantly alluded to something bigger going on, as if our characters were just pawns in a game.

Shadows of Dawning by Georgina Kamsika - 4 stars.
This was one of my favourite stories from the anthology, more so for the way the emotions were portrayed. You could feel Lita's emotions through the pages, and her relationship with Priya was beautifully written. Whilst I didn't enjoy the actual story so much, I felt the way the characters were written and how they expressed themselves made this an enjoyable read.

The Hounds Below by Josh Reynolds - 5 stars.
This was my one of my two FAVOURITES of the entire set of stories! It was a really simple idea, one that I'd seen done a thousand times before but the author just seemed to have this ability to make it feel so much creepier and set you on edge whilst you were reading it. And the ending, I did not see coming at all - I actually thought I'd guessed what would happen but I couldn't have been more wrong!

Labyrinth by Thomas Parrott - 5 stars.
This one was my other favourite of the stories, anything with a Greek mythology vibe I am instantly going to love! From the start this story had a secretive feeling to it, which was enhanced throughout the story, and at the end when we were left with more questions than answers. The whole story linked so well together, especially with how the Greek mythology merged with the idea of The Devourer. Everything about this story was just so well done.

All My Friends Are Monsters by Davide Mana - 3 stars.
I didn't quite get the same feeling from this as I got from the others, it didn't feel (for me at least) as if they got the same brief as the rest of the writers, it didn't seem to fit as well with the other stories. It was a very well written story and it read brilliantly, it just didn't fit with the others and the overall feel of the book.

The Darkling Woods by Cath Lauria - 2 stars.
I can't really say much about this one except it felt as though it didn't have a plot, it didn't wow me or make me scared or make me jump or thrill me like the other stories did. It also ended quite abruptly without tying up the lose ends which I found frustrating.

Professor Warren's Investiture by David Annandale - 1 star.
From the start, I knew exactly how this one would end, it was so predictable. I found the story to be overly simplistic and without any additions to the story to bring that wow factor, it fell quite flat. It made an impression on me, but it was the wrong one, sadly.

Sins in the Blood by Thomas Parrott - 5 stars.
This was a great way to finish of the series, it felt as if it brought a natural ending to the collection of stories. It also helped that the story itself was brilliant, it built up the tension and atmosphere so well! I didn't know it was going to end, it kept me guessing from start to finish, which was good because the characters were really likable so you were rooting for them but you weren't sure if they would survive... It was a really simple idea but excellently executed.
Profile Image for Michael Botterill.
72 reviews1 follower
April 20, 2023
I have been provided with an advance copy of the new Arkham Horror book The Devourer Below edited by Charlotte Llewelyn-Wells, published by Aconyte Books, so here is the honest review I promised in exchange for the book.

Stories in this collection are written by Evan Dicken, Georgina Kamsika, Thomas Parrott, Josh Reynolds, David Annadale, Davide Mana & Cath Lauria.

So here is an important disclaimer which is always important to put out there first. I have a casual work contact with Asmodee to demonstrate board games for them in stores and at conventions. Asmodee being the parent company of Aconyte the publisher.

Also I am friends with a couple of the authors on social media, not that we are close friends, for them its probably about connecting with fans rather than wanting to be my pal!

I am going to try my best to not let that cloud my judgement in this review, but I accept that subconsciously it might.

What is Arkham Horror
Anyway that put to one side, let’s look at this book, by first looking at the game Arkham Horror which is a cooperative game, originally designed by Richard Launius, and is now in its third edition which was released in 2019.

It’s published by Fantasy Flight Games, a subsidiary of Asmodee, and is set in 1926 in the town of Arkham, Massachusetts. Each player takes on the role of an investigator, who are working to stop the Ancient Ones, eldritch horrors which lurk in the void beyond space and time.

It’s a 1-6 player game and you work together to gather clues and defeat the evil of the Ancient Ones and save the world.

As I said I haven’t actually played Arkham Horror but I do own its spin off Elder Sign the cooperative dice game.

The Story
Like the rest of the Arkham Horror novels, its set in the 1920s, and this collection of short stories all feature characters from the upcoming new revised edition of the Arkham Horror Card Game Core Set.

So lets look at each story one by one and I will give you some brief thoughts on them.

Running the Night Whiskey – Evan Dicken
This story is about Leo, a war veteran who runs into an old comrade in arms and gets himself involved with a bootlegging run with very sinister consequences.

This story was fantastic to open the book as it really did have a loveable protagonist who whilst a bit naughty, but very loveable.

The story has hints of horror that finally culminate in an ending which is quite eldritch, and sets up the rest of what’s to come very nicely.

Shadows Dawning – Georgina Kamsika
Lita Chandler, a recent widower whose husband was murdered by cultists, is desperately trying to get revenge.

The story wasn’t big on horror as the others, but was interesting to read as Lita seemed to get more and more desperate as the story went on, there was a real sense that she had lost all control of herself in her desire for vengence.

You really do find yourself rooting for her.

The Hounds Below – Josh Reynolds
This is in my opinion the strongest story in the collection as a journalist, Holsten manages to convince the doctors at Arkham Asylum to let him interview Mr Drew, a war veteran with a particularly gruesome compulsion.

This story is very sinister and chilling as we slowly hear the backstory of Mr Drew and his decent into depravity and madness. The ending is very intense and an extremely horrific twist, a real page turner.

Labyrinth – Thomas Parrott
This is part one of a two parter and is the most unique of the stories, being the telling of a story from Greek Antiquity in a Lovecraftian way.

Joe Diamond is trying to save the life of an innocent girl and his research leads him to find a connection to the myths of the Minotaur from Greek myths, and its very horror filled.

The time jump was a bit weird, and this finish left me a little confused, but the second part resolved that issue, but it would have been nice if it was clear that this was a two part story as that wasn’t clear to me.

Its a really solid story and shows that the world of the Cthulhu mythos isn’t confined to a small part of New England.

All my Friends are Monsters – Davide Mana
This is one of my favourite stories as it sees the morgue worker, Ruth Turner find herself blackmailed into helping sinister and dark forces when her other life of cross-dressing, speakeasy visits and a queer relationship is discovered.

This is a tragic tale of how Ruth slowly finds herself getting involved deeper and deeper with the cult. Its a deeply engaging tale and you find yourself rooting for her and Charlie.

The plot is in my opinion the most engaging in the book and it got me hooked more so than the others.

The Darkling Woods – Cath Lauria
This is an okay story, but I found it less engaging than the others simply because it felt so obvious in its nature.

The characters didn’t speak to me and the plot felt rather forced.

But it was really well written and cleverly crafted story, I just couldn’t connect with it, and I felt it lacked the same horror as the other stories, but that was just me and I am sure others will feel differently.

Professor Warren’s Investiture – David Annandale
This story shows how easy it is to succumb to darkness and evil, as they say the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

In this story Professor Warren has been working on a book about the occult for the past two decades, mocked by his colleagues at Miskatonic University, when a mysterious woman approaches him at the library and offers him all the occult secrets he ever desired.

Professor Warren feelings of anger and humiliation come through quite well and this story really does show how he was susceptible to the approach of the cultists.

Its a very interesting story in the way it plays with your emotions, you sympathise with Professor Warren, but at the same time are horrified by his choices.

Sins in the Blood – Thomas Parrott
The conclusion to Labyrinth and sees Joe Diamond team up with a waitress called Agness to save the life of Nadia.

I enjoyed this one, the pacing was just right and it built upon very solid foundations from the first part with the characters involved in a race against time and cultists to prevent Nadias life being taken by a horror of the old times.

My only negative comment about this story is that Joe kind of got overshadowed by Agness, despite his being the hero of sorts, perhaps had Agness been involved in the first story that would have felt better. But they had to do a lot to shoehorn her and her story into the limited time she featured.

This was a very enjoyable and creepy book, a lot of emotions were played with and some fantastic characters to root for, or be horrified by.

There were of course stories I enjoyed more than others, but in general they complimented each other very well and built a general idea about the particular cult who form the antagonists in this collection.

The length of each story was just right and allowed me to dip in and out over a couple of days, making it a very very easy to read book.

Its a good primer for the general idea of Lovecraftian horror and sets up the card game very well, potentioally giving you new insight to the characters you will play with.

The editing I would add is extremely good, other than the slight confusion about the two partner, nothing feels off, and the stories flow very nicely from one to another.

A good balanced anthology that leaves you wanting more.

5 out of 5 Stars
Profile Image for James Agombar.
43 reviews3 followers
November 9, 2022
The Devourer Below is an anthology of 8 short stories set within the Arkham Horror world of H.P Lovecraft's work. Each expands the setting with its own characters but each share a common factor in the form of the dark deity Umordhoth. Each story was well written and had their own tack on the Arkham world with inventive ways.
Below are a few standout stories in my opinion

Running the Night Whisky
One of my favourite stories where a man is offered a cut of money from a whisky run. But trouble follows him in more forms than expected making for an intriguing twist.

The Hounds Below
The imagery conjured by the story of a creature in an asylum serves this story well. It's an excellent take on the old insanity trope mixed with a curse of realisation during the world war and what supernatural horror was bestowed on a soldier. His story seems more than enough to sway the sane mind of an investigator.

A clever transfusion between the myth of Midas and the tale of Urmodhoth. It illustrates at how the dark gods, old and new, predate what we know as Greek myths. A refreshing outlook on the lore of Lovecraft.

All My Friends Are Monsters
A morgue worker stumbles across blackmail in the form of exposure. All they want are bodies, dead bodies, to go missing. If nobody misses them then what's the harm? This story also generates well the elusive ways an LGBTQ character might have been elusive of the era.

Sins in the Blood
A somewhat action heavy end to the collection where a detective steps in to solve a case that, of course, doesn't go to plan.

Litany of Dreams is only an extract of a longer novel which seems inviting with it's vivid description of a confrontation mixed with the madness inducing chanting of something below.

Overall this set of stories was very enjoyable and I'd be tempted to read other collections in the same series. I'd especially urge the fans of Arkham and Lovecraft to give these a go, just don't expect the Lovecraft style of writing.
Profile Image for Cat Treadwell.
Author 4 books105 followers
January 17, 2022
'The Devourer Below' is the first Arkham anthology from Aconyte, with each story held together by the shared tales of one particular Great Old One, who hasn't previously experienced a lot of attention in books or movies. As the stories unfolded, I learned more about this particular unpleasant fellow, and how his fearsome reach draws many into his own unique and hungry darkness.

We have sneaky occultists, of course, but also bootleggers, historians, regular people caught up in something far beyond their experience, and so much more. For anyone wishing to play the Arkham Horror roleplaying games, there's heaps of inspiration for characters here!

Particular standouts for me were Josh Reynolds' 'The Hounds Below', which combined the very real horrors of The Great War with deeper human fears of madness, starvation... and what those may mean when combined together. Also 'The Darkling Woods' by Cath Lauria was its own kind of fairytale. I've never seen a Lovecraftian story with children as the protagonists, but does this mean they're able to deal with dark fairytale dangers more effectively than the adults around them?
177 reviews5 followers
May 25, 2021
I was lucky enough to be granted this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

I love horror and a horror anthology is something I've always been on the hunt for. One based on Lovecraft's works, a series of stories where I don't have to worry about overt racism is the best.

This group of stories gets three stars from me. I got an uncorrected proof and the stories will benefit a lot. They're pretty solid as they are presented now.

Pretty solid, three stars. I wanted more. And yes, yes I know. Short stories are meant to be quick, they don't have the time for the details a novel would. That doesn't mean there can't be better characterizations.

I felt bad for the characters because they're in danger. There are monsters around and that's terrifying. But I didn't care about any of them on a personal level. The focus really is on the darkness of the world, the monsters and the people sort of just fall to the wayside.

It left me feeling sort of flat by the end of it because none of them were memorable.
Profile Image for Emily.
451 reviews2 followers
June 7, 2021
A hunger has awakened in Arkham, Massachusetts. Eight stories tell the tale of Arkham and the horrors that lurk there. Stories of those who want to fight the hunger, and of those who want to fuel it. This hunger wants to devour all.
I’m impressed with this book. I loved all 8 stories, and I had a hard time putting this book down. I especially loved how each story was separate, but they were all still connected in a way. Each story revealing just a little bit more information and glimpses into this hunger – The Devourer Below.

If I had to pick — my top two stories would be:
1. Labyrinth by Thomas Parrott
I’m a sucker for Greek mythology, and Greek mythology mixed with horror really made this one of my favorites. I also liked more than just the content – I enjoyed the pacing of this story and the suspense.

2. All my Friends are Monsters by Davide Mana
I really enjoyed Ruth as a character. It was interesting seeing how she handled the situation she was forced into. This was also a story where I feel like you got more of a connection to the other stories. I would love to read more about Ruth!

Overall this book had a good balance of suspense, mystery, and horror. This made me want to pick up more Arkham Horror books, and look into the board game as well!
Thank you NetGalley and Aconyte Books for the ARC.
Profile Image for Art Hyrst.
697 reviews38 followers
June 7, 2021
These stories were really interesting. I've never played Arkham Horror but I found it easy enough to get invested in the worldbuilding and stories. I was impressed with how consistent the tone was across all of the short stories, and I didn't feel like any of them were particularly poor - a rare success with anthologies in my opinion. These have totally piqued my interest in the Arkham Horror world, and I'll be suggesting it to my gaming group.

The tone felt appropriate for the time period they were set in, with the language feeling accurate while still being easy to read. They were a lot of fun. It did feel a little repetitive at times, where words were repeated a lot, especially 20's slang. While I guess that's to be expected with a limited selection of slang available, it was noticeable when reading.
Profile Image for Scott Naber.
29 reviews1 follower
May 25, 2022
I really enjoyed this. I imagined this to be boardgame tie-in. I really liked that every story dealt with the same cult that worshipped the same monster in different time periods. That way you get different peoples experiences dealing with the cult, and that way even the cult is fleshed out and made more concrete. Some stories are stronger than others, and the one by Joshua Reynolds was my favourite. Really creepy story. The horror isn't hard gory horror, just nice atmospheric horror. There is plenty of action, and none of the stories were turgid snooze fests. I think this was a solid effort for all authors involved, except that I think all of them were pulling their punches when it came to the actual horror, as I think this may be a borderline YA effort (aimed at teenage board-gamers). Overall, I liked it.
Profile Image for Eli  J.D.
16 reviews
April 14, 2023
This Arkham horror book is the first one to act as a tie in/ prequel to a campaign from the card game. Just as the campaign itself is uninteresting so is the book. The only story I think benefits the campaign is the one about lita chandler. The others felt disconnected other than sharing a big bad.

Don’t get me wrong the campaign from the card game is fine. But it is the shortest and first one. So it’s more like a tutorial.

It’s always fun to read about characters from the books and this one features the most I’ve encountered so far.

Only a must read if you want to read them all

As for the audiobooks quality, this one is read by Jennifer Jill Araya, who has done a few other books in this series. As always she is fantastic as is the production quality.
Profile Image for Emziethebookworm .
150 reviews9 followers
July 29, 2022
8 short stories all based on this creature that properly lives below arkham, which he sounds like a creepy ruler, sending his people to collect sacrifices.
Each story was amazing to read in there own way, by the different people who wrote them to make this collab.
Not gonna personally lie I really did want some of these stories to continue like make there won book for them to explain there experiences from beginng of event to the very end of the outcome, but don't think we will.
Like I said I really enjoyed this one, can't wait to read the rest of the arkham books
Profile Image for Arvilla.
142 reviews1 follower
May 30, 2022
An anthology of decent short stories full of characters that fans of the Arkham Horror franchise will enjoy seeing. None of the stories were super amazing but they were fun and quick reads. I appreciated all of the diversity in the characters. "Professor Warren's Investiture" was probably the most interesting out of all of the stories due to the questions it raises, although I think "The Hounds Below" was my favorite.
Profile Image for TS S. Fulk.
368 reviews4 followers
August 17, 2021
This one really surprised me. The Devourer Below is an anthology of short stories that are connected to the events and characters in the Arkham Horror campaign The Night of the Zealot (whose last scenario is entitled The Devourer Below). These stories fleshed out the game story with extra background and side stories.
Profile Image for Billy.
5 reviews
August 7, 2021
An anthology to devour

Many if not all the stories grabbed my attention and kept me reading until the end. They connected a small bit of tissue but the stories were fun with horror elements of the CTHULU mythos
Displaying 1 - 30 of 33 reviews

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