In April 1936, Lovecraft’s novella The Shadow Over Innsmouth was first published. Written five years earlier, but oddly rejected by every magazine it was ever submitted to, it accurately described a series of events that actually happened in February 1928, when federal government agents raided Innsmouth and attempted to eradicate a deviant race of ichthyoid creatures which had been interbreeding with the human population for decades, if not centuries. Following these startling revelations, the F.B.I. delved into the stories that Lovecraft was publishing as “fiction.” Incredibly, it soon began to emerge that the events in Innsmouth were not a solitary event—and the monstrosities the author described really did exist.To combat these cosmic horrors, the Human Protection League (H.P.L.) was established to investigate and combat these otherworldly invaders. Down through the decades since, the only defense that has stood between humanity and these creatures of chaos are the agents of the H.P.L.—or, as they are sometimes known to those few who are aware of their existence: The Lovecraft Squad.
For the second book in the Lovecraft Squad series, following the novel All Hallows Horror, Jones has rounded up a host of science fiction, fantasy, and horror writers to contribute to a hard-boiled, shared-world riff on the writings of H.P. Lovecraft, master of eldritch horror. In 1937, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover forms the Human Protection League (HPL, get it?) to combat monstrous incursions from another dimension. One of his early recruits is Lovecraft himself, whose fictions turn out to have a basis in reality. Nathan Brady, the league's first agent, finds this out as he battles warring New York gangsters to uncover a nest of horrors beneath a Broadway theatre. During the Korean War, junior G-Men assist the league in catching a dream thief in disguise in their small town. In a James Ellroy/Lovecraft mash-up, Howard Hughes's wisecracking fixer, Arty Burns, tries to prevent demons from mentally invading red scare Hollywood. Some ghost hunters, including a league infiltrator, get more than they bargain for when they investigate a haunted house. And, in 1963, the HPL blasts two female agents into orbit to rescue Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin from the horror known as "the color out of space." The stories stretch from the 1920s to the present, but a certain sameness ultimately settles over them. The best of the works try to address Lovecraft's inherent racism and unusual biographical details. This book can best be appreciated by those already familiar with the Cthulhu mythos, but newbies will still enjoy the pulpy adventures of the league.