I really like short stories. In fact, I absolutely love short stories. I love horror, I love fantasy, and there's a really good reason that every book I've ever reviewed has been an anthology collection of horror or fantasy short stories.
Sadly, 'Tales out of Innsmouth' was not a book that I thought that I would get into. I decided to give it a chance, but things didn't look good from the outset. I've played CoC for years, I've gobbled down every book on, by, or about Lovecraft that I could lay my hands on, I know most of the Old Ones on a first name basis, and quite frankly, the Deep Ones, Dagon's hideous children and the inhabitants of shadowed Innsmouth have never seemed to do to much for me.
From editor Robert M. Price's masterful introductory essay "The One That Got Away", 'Tales out of Innsmouth' is just one pleasant surprise after another. Every tale and short story in the book is a unique and intriguing look at some facet of the Deep Ones - the whole book is an experience in redefining one of the best known critters in Lovecraft's universe.
The most intriguing part of the book, in my opinion, is John Glasby's reworking of Lovecraft's original notes for the story that would introduce the Deep One's to his mythos. Entitled "The Weird Shadow Over Innsmouth", this strange take on Lovecraft's vision shows what could have been, and is lots of fun for a faithful reader of Lovecraft's work who may feel like they've read it all.
Other stories, particularly Gregory Luce's cinematic "The Deep End", Scott David Aniolowski's unique take on "The Idol", Brian McNaughton's horrific "The Doom that Came to Innsmouth", and the hilarious "It Was The Day of the Deep One" by Peter H. Cannon, make this book well worth a look. Players and Keeprs alike who want to add a new dimension to their Call of Cthulhu games with more fleshed out Deep Ones should invest in this book, and even folks who just dig a good horror story will undoubtedly find a lot to love about this book. Lovecraft would be proud.