THE SHADOW OF THE UNKNOWN edited by AJ French (2011 Static Movement / 236 pp / tp)
While anthologies featuring Lovecraft-inspired stories are quite common, few (that I've read, anyway) are as satusfying as THE SHADOW OF THE UNKNOWN, a collection of 29 tales that range from good to great with only a couple of clunkers.
My favorite piece here is titled QUIETUS by A.A. Garrison. While the "mirror world" theme of the story has been done many times, Garrison makes it his own and spins an epic yarn in a mere six pages. The always reliable Gary A. Braunbeck strikes with THE MUSIC OF BLEAK ENTRAINMENT, where an incarcerated man tells of how he and his collegues summoned Cthulhu through a music program. I always enjoy Braunbeck's first-person stories, this one enhanced with quite a dark conclusion.
Other memorable offerings come from Gene O'Neill (his GRAFFITI SONATA is arguably the most original piece here), AJ French (I found WHEN A CLOWN FACE SPEAKS to be the all-around scariest tale), Geoffrey H. Goodwin (AMENDS FOR AN EARLIER SUMMER is a nice blend of Lovecraft and a 70s occult horror film), and L.E. Badillo (whose claustrophobic IN THE VALLEY OF THE THINGS really gets the goosebumps going).
Some stories feature actual Lovecraft monsters and ideas, while others stray away from both and focus mainly on dark mysteries. It's always good to see so many newer/unknown authors deliver quality material, and editor French has done a fine job collecting so many solid like-minded tales. My only gripe is I'd like to have seen a more detailed list of where the reprints had first appeared, but that's only a small complaint. THE SHADOW OF THE UNKNOWN is well worth your time.