There are very few authors out there that can consistently and successfully pull off Lovecraftian horror without it becoming an unoriginal, tired trope of unimaginable, indescribable horrors and old gods with unpronounceable monikers. Laird is head and shoulders above the rest of his peers when it comes to this kind of horror.
That being said, “Man With No Name” has significantly less H.P. overtones than some of his past titles, but Laird can’t resist throwing in some crazy cosmic elements, layered beneath subtle innuendo and seemingly random passing themes. He can’t help himself. It’s what makes his work so fascinating to me. Laird pens just the right amount of “wtf” and then let’s your imagination run with it. Don’t get me wrong, there is plenty of in your face violence and gore on occasion, but he doesn’t beat you over the head with it. He just gives you a little slap and then let’s you decide how long it will sting.
Both the title namesake novella and the bonus short “Blood & Stardust” possess the vast themes, hinting of worlds much larger than our own that can terrify and enrapture all at once. I am left hoping that each was a bit longer, (but I feel that way about most good short works) and the length, of each, was probably perfect. Solid 4+ Stars!