Friday, November 13, 2015


by Austin Grossman
355 pgs

"What if there are worse things in the world than nuclear weapons?" This is a statement made by President Eisenhower to his young Vice President, Richard Milhous Nixon, near the beginning of Crooked.

What if The United States was built on a foundation of dark magic centuries earlier? And what if ever since World War II, the country had been involved in a secret arms race, one far more dangerous than the one the rest of the world knew about with the Soviet Union, but with forces far more dangerous than any possible human threat? Austin Grossman's latest book is a fascinating alternative history story in which Nixon, the country's most disparaged president, is not the man the country, and the rest of the world believed him to be. Rather, the decisions that he made, that eventually resulted in him quitting the presidency in disgrace, were motivated by his responsibility to protect the nation from dark forces from another dimension.

It's an outlandish premise, and one that could have easily resulted in a nonsensical and silly book. But that's not the direction Grossman went with his story. Instead, it's obvious that he conducted an amazing amount of research into both the lives of key historical figures of the era as well as the key events. And the result is a story that expertly overlays an alternative history over one of the most significant periods of the country's history

While Grossman's pacing in the book leaves a little to be desired on numerous occasions, it's still a highly-unique story and Grossman's creativity and imagination are in high gear. He manages to bring H. P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu into America's political backstory, and transform Henry Kissinger into a 1000-year-old sorcerer.

★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

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