The year is 1936, and Arthor Crandle’s life has fallen to pieces. Stressed by marital issues and even worse financial troubles, he finds work as a live-in assistant to an enigmatic, ailing author. But when Arthor moves into the man’s Providence home, he realizes that nothing—especially his employer—is what it seems. For one thing, the place is most certainly haunted, filled with ghost-girls and a creepy, hovering presence. Meanwhile, his boss only gives orders through letters slipped beneath his door, refusing to leave his room or reveal his name...And then there’s the arrival of Flossie, the beautiful Midwesterner who’s come to stay while her friend, Helen, is away. The only problem? Arthor has never seen, or heard of, another boarder named Helen.
As the bizarre occurrences turn more and more terrifying, Arthor has no choice but to pry into his employer’s past. Only then does he discover the true story behind the happenings at Sixty-Six College Street—and that he’s working for none other than H.P. Lovecraft.
Published in 2014, The Broken Hours serves up maximum haunted house eeriness as Arthor tries to untangle a web of dark secrets. Aside from paying tribute to Lovecraftian lore and style (yes, a tentacled creature does make an appearance), Jacqueline Baker also borrows elements from the author's personal history—including his late-in-life destitution and Rhode Island roots. Though H.P. Lovecraft is one of the biggest names in classic horror, he died without fame or money in 1937.
The following excerpt of Baker's novel takes place just after Flossie confesses her fears about Helen, who is still worryingly MIA. Her imagination has cooked up wild theories—what if someone like Albert Fish attacked her?—that Arthor tries his best to refute. But during a walk in the woods, the pair makes a shocking discovery, and Arthor has a realization that's as frightening as any serial-killing Gray Man...
This post is sponsored by Open Road Media. Thank you for supporting our partners, who make it possible for The Lineup to continue publishing the horror stories you love.
Featured image: The H.P. Lovecraft Wiki