Author: Oli Jacobs
Page Count: 396
I’ve read about a dozen of Jacobs’ books by this point, and all of them have been worth reading. This one is cool because you can read it as a standalone but it also still functions as part of a wider realm. It’s almost King-like in that respect, and indeed I think King would approve of it because it lives up to his saying that “there are other worlds than these”.
Wilthaven follows the BPD, the Bureau of Paranormal Detectives, and essentially documents their investigation into this strange, eldritch, Lovecraftian town called Wilthaven where nothing is quite as it seems. It’s almost reminiscent of Jay Kristoff’s Illuminae series in the way that it plays with layout, except I didn’t finish Illuminae while I tore through this one and had a blast while I was at it.
What’s quite cool here is that there’s a nice little range of genres, with a lot of Lovecraftian creepiness, some dark humour and some honest-to-goodness horror. One of my favourite bits was when a bunch of limbs just appeared out of nowhere. That was actually pretty brutal and not for the faint-hearted, but at this point I’m pretty sure there’s nothing I can read that will properly shock me. I’m immune.
There was also a pretty cool little subsection in it which was kind of a book within a book, and I think that it worked really well in context here. Because the book itself is presented as a dossier of documents, it makes sense that there’d be a book within a book. It worked better than Paul Sheldon’s book in Misery, in any case.
So would I recommend this one? Oh, absolutely, especially if you’re looking to read some more indie authors and to help to support the ecosystem. I’ve always enjoyed Oli’s stuff and this is him at his best, at least in my opinion. I’d take this over Kirk Sandblaster any day, and probably over another installment in the Filmic Cuts short stories series.
Oh, and did I mention that there’s a photo of yours truly in there? Oli was looking for volunteers to be featured in the Wilthaven files, and I of course jumped at the opportunity. Even though it’s a super old photograph. At least it’s heavily stylised though.