“This brilliant novel of one man’s descent into a world of smoke and shadows kept me reading late into the night. In exquisitely precise prose, with a pitch-perfect feel for the starkness of H.P. Lovecraft’s Rhode Island, The Broken Hours taps into our fears, challenges our beliefs, and brings us back to the delicious terrors of childhood. This is a ghost story in the vein of Henry James and Susan Hill, a meditation on love interrupted, and the perils of solitude. Deliciously creepy, heartbreaking and beautiful.”
–Esi Edugyan, winner of the 2011 Giller Prize for Half-Blood Blues
The enormously successful US television drama True Detective has drawn attention to the work of America’s first horror writer H.P. Lovecraft and in this fictional account, Jacqueline Baker has created a haunting portrait worthy of the father of modern horror.
The year is 1936. Arthor Crandle has come to Providence, Rhode Island to work as a live-in secretary for a reclusive horror writer known to him only as Ech-Pi. Having left his wife nearly destitute, this job is Crandle’s last chance to prove himself as both a husband and a man.
However, the job at Number Sixty-Six College Street is more than he bargained for. After being confronted by mysterious apparitions in the night, and Ech-Pi’s twisted family history at the Butler Insane Asylum, Crandle quickly learns that his employer’s ghost stories may not be stories after all. When he discovers a clue to his employer’s past—a piece of a gravestone from the family estate—Crandle is determined to unearth the truth. Nothing could prepare him for what he finds. Ech-Pi is not at all who he seems. But then neither is Crandle.
No reader can fail to be moved by the lapidary fluency of Baker’s prose, by her loving portrayals of her troubled characters, and by the cumulative power of a narrative that can only end in horror and bitterness. It is a triumph in every way.”
– S.T. Joshi in Dead Reckonings
“Baker’s intent is to authentically recreate the eerie atmosphere that surrounded Lovecraft, before wrapping the reader up in a compelling, Hitchcockian plot that will keep readers constantly questioning the real versus the imagined, up to the final shocking pages. Lovecraft fans will delight in seeing the author’s biography unfold on the page, but those with no previous attachment to Lovecraft will easily be drawn into this satisfying, gothic tale on its own merit. Suggest to fans of historical horror hit The Quick (2014) or backlist darling The Thirteenth Tale (2006).”
“I can’t remember the last time a book really, truly creeped me out. This one … yeah, this one did. Jacqueline Baker gets under your skin with this depression-era tale of child spectres, haunted houses, mad scribes and lunatic asylums—and caps it all with a mind-melting twist that will reorder your sense of everything that preceded it.”
–Craig Davidson, author of Cataract City and Rust and Bone
“The spectral life of a horror legend is examined in this dark, tenebrous novel… Baker (The Horseman’s Graves) writes with the conviction of a fan, adeptly evoking the shadowy melancholy of Lovecraft’s world while always keeping the narrative’s momentum moving… the novel creates an atmosphere of haunted New England menace that sinks subtly into the skin.”
“…[A] sinister page-turner…Baker’s tale feels fresh, largely thanks to the quality of her writing. She knows the power of the horrific detail and unleashes some wonderfully chilling don’t-look-now moments.”
–Quill & Quire
“The Broken Hours reads as both an exploration of Lovecraft’s life, and a distillation of his fiction: it is both gripping and good. A literary mystery with an emphasis on the literary, a horror fiction which draws its power from the negative space, never explaining itself fully but written with such command and verve that such explanations are largely unnecessary. It’s a powerful read, creepy to the point of terrifying and, at times, utterly heartbreaking, graced with both a compelling narrative and a deep, thoughtful substrata – which of these will keep the reader awake longer will vary from reader to reader, but sleep won’t come easily, either way.”
“Baker’s prose is absolutely magical”
“a sleek, stylish ghost story”
-The Edmonton Journal
“I finished this novel in one sitting, and found nothing to disappoint. That’s not something I can say about many of the books I crack open.”
–Historical Novel Society
HarperCollins Canada, Fall 2014
Talos Press/Skyhorse, US, Spring 2016
Longlisted for the Sunburst Award