Book Review: ‘Wrath of N’Kai: An Arkham Horror Novel’
A seductive international thief, multiple criminal enterprises, robbery, murder and an ancient occult mystery, Wrath of N’Kai: An Arkham Horror Novel by Josh Reynolds books Aconyte has it all! What begins as a simple yet sophisticated heist turns into a mad dash through local aristocracy, compromised academia, and the seedy underbelly of Arkham in 1920s Massachusetts. I was captivated from the start, ending more than half the book in one sitting. If you’re looking for an exciting adventure, buckle up and let yourself Josh Reynolds take you for a ride.
[Note: While I am reviewing this novel independently and honestly, it should be noted that it has been provided to me by Aconyte Books for the purpose of this review. Warning: Spoilers from Wrath of N’Kai: An Arkham Horror Novel are below!]
Just another day at work Wrath of N’Kai: An Arkham Horror Novel
The ride begins with a literal ride on a train. Here we meet Countess Alessandra Zorzi. Zorzi is more than just an heiress, however. She is also a world famous thief specializing in rare occult items. She’s on her way to Arkam to meet a mysterious new client who wants to steal a recently discovered American mummy. What seems like an easy job goes to hell when the mummy is robbed at her unveiling party in a violent armed robbery that nearly costs the Countess her life!
Alessandra tries to cut and run after the botched theft. After all, there are no more mummy to steal and there are police everywhere. Any self-respecting thief would leave. But his client, the mysterious Zamacona, does not accept failure. he wants her to take the mummy back. At his insistence, she begins to investigate the theft to try to find out who stole the mummy and where it is now. With the help of her driver, Pepper, who has her own secrets to hide.
The Countess visits mobsters, professors, and the top of the upper crust trying to unravel the mystery of the mummy. Insurance investigator Abner Whitlock follows her every step. Whitlock recognizes Zorzi from another job she did in Europe that he investigated and he is convinced that she is also behind the missing mummy. He is determined to send him to prison and keeps trying to find something to arrest him for.
well maybe not just another day
This is all a compelling heist mystery on its own, but add the supernatural half of the story and it gets really good. Because the mummy is not a relic of a long-dead culture. He belongs to a very lively society of underground worshipers and they want him back!
The countess is followed by a strange little man and something is wrong with her employer Zamavona too. Zorzi also starts having strange dreams and feeling sick after coming into contact with the mummy. People start dying horribly and things get really serious. Zorzi would like nothing better than to split up and leave Arkham behind, but something more than her employer’s threats keeps her there. She just needs to find that mummy and all the secrets that should have stayed buried with her.
Because of course the mummy and its cult of followers aren’t the only things brought back from Kansas. Something older and far more dangerous has also happened. N’Kai, one of the elders begins to wake up when the mummy is not buried and he wants his tribute. If he is completely released, it could be the end of everything.
Some of the players involved try to prevent it, some try to cause it, and some get caught up in the game without even knowing it’s being played. The Countess is one of the involuntary players and her actions will change everything. But without knowing the game, can she win?
Strong characters and a fun plot in Wrath of N’Kai: An Arkham Horror Novel
Wrath of N’Kai was exceptional. I’m beyond ecstatic that this is the start of a series because I just want to keep reading. The Countess was just the right mix of boldness, strength and vulnerability. It made her very real to me.
Pepper was also a great character. He was protective of his fare almost to the point of exasperation. But it feels endearing instead of intrusive. I really hope he joins Alessandra in future adventures because they had amazing chemistry. All the characters were well developed and compelling. It created a great amount of emotional investment for me. I’m a very character-driven reader, so when there’s a whole host of interesting people in a story, I’m hooked. Reynolds does exactly that in N’Kai.
Fortunately, Reynolds also designed a great adventure for these characters. There were several twists and turns throughout the book that kept me guessing what was going on and who I should be worried about. Granted, I pegged the person behind the armed robbery from the start but their motivation was completely out of left field and I never saw it coming.
Alessandra and Pepper travel through Arkham in an attempt to unravel the mystery of the flight and the mummy itself. There are so many moving parts in this mystery that surprises are around every corner, will the Countess put it all together in time?
An instant favorite
The biggest surprise (or not if you read enough) is that just when it all seems over and the threats, both human and supernatural, have been neutralized, there’s another twist. Old people never really die after all.
Personally, I can’t wait to see what comes next for the Countess in her new career, hopefully with Pepper by her side. And I’m sure the new threat revealed at the end of the story will feature in his future. Possibilities will keep me up at night, just like the Wrath of N’Kai did!
My rating for this book: 9/10
Josh Reynolds weaves an intricate story full of fascinating characters in the Wrath of N’Kai. Anyone who likes scary stories, murder mysteries, high-stakes heists, or daring adventures will love this book. I happened to read it by flashlight during a blackout with flickering candles in the background. Let’s talk about atmosphere! The book would have been great at noon but it was even better at midnight. I highly recommend the book and the atmosphere for everyone!
Wrath of N’Kai: An Arkham Horror Novel by Josh Reynolds by Aconyte Books is currently available on BAM! and other booksellers. [As affiliates of BAM! we may receive a commission from purchases made via the above link]
If you haven’t already, check out my latest review of Aconyte’s Marvel line, shadow avengersa Crisis Protocol novel by Carrie Harris!