Aleister Crowley by Mikeall ()
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Roused from his drug induced revelry, by a needy 1920’s metropolitan constabulary, Eddie Skelson’s wonderful Aleister Crowley proceeds to skilfully diagnose, and then wilfully circumvent, a Lovecraftian nightmare gestating in the Kensington home of society ‘faux’ occultist, Roman Ravensblack. The story that unfolds, as Eddie Skelson reminds us in the author’s note, is made up and presents a version of Aleister Crowley somewhat artistically removed from the occultist, drug addict, social provocateur, and mountaineer, who gained his notoriety at the turn of the 20th century. What propels Skelson’s thoroughly entertaining narrative so effectively, apart from rune- inscribed potatoes having more punch than firearms, is his version of Crowley, especially how he chooses to heighten the characters sense of purpose. Given the impediments before Crowley, from functioning in his dressing gown and leather slippers late at night alongside cynical uniformed policemen, to outwitting an increasingly desperate Mokoi, brought forth by Ravensblack’s amateur occult dablings, and now prone to literally fashion sharp dining cutlery and dead society guests into its preferred automatic weapons of choice, we still find it perfectly credible that Crowley’s sole motivation to succeed is money and the promise by Inspector Bryson of a coveted object from Ravenblack’s own collection of occult ephemera. Self-interest and self-preservation are Cowley’s strongest and best characteristics and we like him the more for them, especially when they are embellished with hilarious profanities that somehow, given the period, work brilliantly to extend the character to the point of authenticity – perhaps anticipating further appearances? Mike Fyles.