Balak by Stephen Mark Rainey

 

Balak is a Cthulhian mythos style novel set in modern day Chicago.  The novel starts off with the disappearance of a little boy, in part witnessed by Claire Challis, whose own child disappeared not long before that.  This leads Claire and her boyfriend, Mike, into a dark church, whose members worship Balak, an ancient figure who serves an even more ancient god, who was around when the world was new in a typically HP Lovecraft motif.  The Chicago police become involved.  All of this leads to an end of the world scenario, where Balak is trying to use Claire to allow this ancient god to enter our world.

 

I’ve read a number of Lovecraftian type stories, and this kind of falls in the middle of the pack.  There was nothing particularly bad about, but it also doesn’t rise above some of the others I’ve read.  For me, the bar is set with Brett J. Talley’s work, whose take on Lovecraft is top notch.  The situation is fairly ordinary. The characters are solid, but none of them fell into the category of someone I was rooting for too succeed.  I just couldn’t latch on to them.  The novel is very competently written and was a decent read.  You could do a lot worse than this novel, but it’s not one that I feel as if I’ll remember a year later.