A Crack In The World | James Mordechai




England, 1994. Villages in Sussex are vanishing into thin air at an alarming rate. Gino Marcotti – the Gran Maestro Occultist, son of the official occultist of the Fascist Italian Regime – is tasked to investigate by the Royal Paranormal Institute in Greenwich. His investigation takes an unexpected turn when he realises that the Black Metal scene, with its recent homicides and arson attacks on Norwegian churches, is connected to these disappearances. But he soon discovers that there are bigger and more malevolent forces at play – and the only way to defeat them is to connect with his dead father.

A Crack in the World is a fast-paced Occult Detective novel that plays with paranormal, cosmic horror and dark academia themes. A thrilling race across multidimensional portals for the fans of The X-Files, Twin Peaks and H. P. Lovecraft.

Whole villages in Sussex are disappearing. No one knows why, and no one knows where they go. The Royal Paranormal Institute in Greenwich has sent the Gran Maestro Occultist.Gino Marcotti and his bodyguard, Carter Williams to find the reason for these disappearances.

The trail leads them to make discoveries that will shock the world as their journey takes them to determine that the world is changing. Black Metal is the new cult and the world becoming more of an occult world. 

Travelling through both England, their investigation will lead them to the truth about the disappearances and the truth about Gino’s long-lost father.

James Mordechai’s new book A Crack in the World is a fast - paced cosmic detective story drawing on influences like Brian Lumley, the X – Files and the good old detective novel.

The story centres around the team of Gino Marcotti and his bodyguard Carter Williams, and these are the two main characters through which we are introduced to James Mordechai’s other England. It’s an interesting take on the genre and whilst traditional cosmic horror is at the stories heart, the wrappings around the tale use a more modern approach. 

Obviously, James Mordechai knows the genre that he is writing in very well, particularly the influences of both past masters and modern greats, but he also adds his own little flair with the inclusion of modern pop culture like 90’s black metal, the X – Files, Twin Peaks, and it was quite exciting to see references to these made in the book. In addition to that there is the inclusion of occultist history and theory peppering the story, particularly the late Victorian aspects of the movement, like Crowley and other influential figures. However, the inclusion of these aspects are woven into the story really well and add to the overall tone of the book, mainly when we learn of the inception of the Royal Paranormal Institute. Not only that there is the inclusion of some of the more darker parts of modern history, particularly the amalgamation of fascist scientists into the world of the second world war allies. For instance, we learn that Gino’s father was the lead paranormal expert that was supposed to aid Mussolini in his victories but that when the Allies defeated the Italian forces, the British took a different path than the rest of the world and instead of using the scientific advances that were made by the Axis forces, instead went down the supernatural path in order to re-establish the glories of the great British empire. 

If you are new to the cosmic horror/weird fiction genre, it can seem a little daunting due to the fact that there is a lot of lore to get used to and at times this can be rather off putting. Not only where do you start, but there is the question of what particular arm of the genre do you go down. For instance some authors choose to set their stories in a Lovecraftian type of world, whilst others use the influences of cosmic horror/weird fiction and write whole new worlds, people like Brian Hodges, Laird Barron, John Langan, Holly Piper etc and for me, James Mordechai definitely seems to follow the latter of the two. In fact, in some respects, this tale did put me in mind of Brian Hodges at times, amongst many other things. And if you are new to the genre, I think that A Crack in the World is a good place to start as it bridges that gap of being accessible whilst having lots of the lore underpinning it. 

The story itself is highly enjoyable, having a good mix detective story, pop culture, dark academia, science fiction and a good old adventure story that keeps the pace flowing to the end.

The characters are well rounded and the relationship between the two buoys the story along and in some ways put you in mind of the Mulder and Scully relationship, that contrasting view of the believer and the accepting sceptic.

On the whole, A Crack In The World is a thoroughly enjoyable read and if you want to get into the weird fiction genre I can’t think of a better place to start. 


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