An alluring international thief, multiple criminal enterprises, robbery, murder, and an ancient occult mystery, Wrath of N’Kai: An Arkham Horror Novel by Josh Reynolds from Aconyte books has it all! What starts as a straightforward but sophisticated heist turns into a wild ride through the local aristocracy, compromised academia, and seedy underbelly of 1920s Arkham Massachusetts. I was enthralled from the beginning, finishing over half the book in one sitting. If you are looking for an exciting adventure, strap yourself in and let Josh Reynolds take you for a ride.
[Note: While I am reviewing this novel independently and honestly, it should be noted that it has been provided to me by Aconyte Books for the purpose of this review. Warning: Spoilers from Wrath of N’Kai: An Arkham Horror Novel are below!]
Just another day on the job in Wrath of N’Kai: An Arkham Horror Novel
The ride begins with a literal ride on a train. Here we meet Countess Alessandra Zorzi. Zorzi is more than a simple heiress though. She is also a world-renowned thief who specializes in rare occult items. She’s on her way to Arkam to meet a mysterious new client who wants to steal a newly discovered American mummy. What seems like an easy job goes to hell when the mummy is stolen during its unveiling party in a violent armed robbery that almost claims the countess’ life!
Alessandra tries to cut and run after the sloppy robbery. After all, there is no longer a mummy to steal and there’s police everywhere. Any self-respecting thief would leave. But her client, the mysterious Zamacona, won’t accept failure. he wants her to steal the mummy back. At his insistence, she begins investigating the robbery to try and discover who stole the mummy and where it is now. With the help of her driver, Pepper, who has their own secrets to hide.
The countess visits mobsters, professors, and the top of the upper crust trying to unravel the mystery of the mummy. Dogging her every step is insurance investigator Abner Whitlock. Whitlock recognizes Zorzi from another job she pulled in Europe that he investigated and he’s convinced that she’s behind the missing mummy too. He is determined to send her to jail and keeps trying to find something to arrest her for.
Well maybe not just another day
All of this is already a compelling heist mystery on its own, but add in the supernatural half of the story and it really gets good. Because the mummy isn’t a relic from a long-dead culture. It belongs to a very alive society of underground worshippers and they want it back!
The countess is being followed by a strange little man and something is off about her employer Zamavona too. Zorzi also begins having strange dreams and feeling sick after coming in contact with the mummy. The people start dying in horrible ways and things really get serious. Zorzi would like nothing better than to split and leave Arkham behind but something more than her employer’s threats keeps her there. She just has to find that mummy and whatever secrets should have stayed buried with it.
Because of course the mummy and its cult of followers aren’t the only things that were brought back from Kansas. Something older and far more dangerous came along too. N’Kai, one of the ancient ones begins to awaken when the mummy is unburied and he wants his tribute. If he is fully released it could be the end of everything.
Some of the players involved are trying to prevent this, some are trying to cause it, and some are caught up in the game without even knowing it’s being played. The Countess is one of the unwitting players and her actions will change everything. But without knowing the game, will she be able to win?
Strong characters and a fun plot in Wrath of N’Kai: An Arkham Horror Novel
Wrath of N’Kai was exceptional. I am beyond ecstatic that this is the beginning of a series because I just want to keep reading. The Countess was just the right blend of sass, strength, and vulnerability. It made her very real to me.
Pepper was also a great character. He was protective of his fare almost to the point of exasperation. But it comes across as endearing instead of overbearing. I am really hoping he joins Alessandra on future adventures because they had amazing chemistry. All of the characters were well-developed and compelling. This created a high amount of emotional investment for me. I am a very character-driven reader so when there is a whole host of interesting people in a story I am hooked. Reynolds does exactly that in N’Kai.
Happily, Reynolds also crafted a great adventure for those characters. There were multiple twists and turns throughout the book that kept me guessing about just what was happening and who I needed to worry about. Admittedly, I pegged the person behind the armed robbery from the start but their motivation was completely out of left field and I never saw it coming.
Alessandra and Pepper trek all over Arkham trying to unravel the mystery of the robbery and of the mummy itself. There are so many moving parts to this mystery that surprises are around every corner, will the Countess piece it together in time?
An instant favorite
The biggest surprise (or not if you read enough) is that just when everything seems over and the threats, both human and supernatural, have been neutralized, there’s one more twist. The ancient ones never really die after all.
Personally, I cannot wait to see what comes next for the Countess in her new career, hopefully with Pepper by her side. And I’m sure the new threat revealed at the end of the story will figure into her future. The possibilities will be keeping me up at night, just like the Wrath of N’Kai did!
My rating for this book: 9/10
Josh Reynolds weaves an intricate story full of fascinating characters in the Wrath of N’Kai. Anyone who likes spooky stories, murder mysteries, high-stake heists, or daring adventures will love this book. I happened to read it by flashlight during a blackout with candles flickering in the background. Talk about atmosphere! The book would have been great at noon but it was even better at midnight. I highly recommend the book and the ambiance for everyone!
Wrath of N’Kai: An Arkham Horror Novel by Josh Reynolds from Aconyte Books is currently available at most booksellers.
If you haven’t already, check out my latest review from Aconyte’s Marvel line, Shadow Avengers, a Crisis Protocol novel by Carrie Harris!