Fearful Passages is a Call of Cthulhu (mini)scenario compilation with a good initial idea, but somewhat shaky execution. The idea itself is solid: make a collection of short adventures that deal with travel and different vehicles, ideally in a form that could be plugged into another game/campaign – after all, traditional Cthulhu involves a lot of travel, and having something available to spice up a long sea voyage (for example), would be nice. However, the end result is a bit less than it could have been.
The first problem is that all too many of these are very specialized, and aren’t at all suitable for inserting into an ongoing story. They involve weird “vehicles” (elephant, anyone), exotic locales, or require a specific backstory and NPC cast. Nothing bad with all that in general, but here it goes somewhat against the intent of the book. Also, the more exotic/weird entries here are also the longer and more interesting ones, with the shorter entries, the ones you might easily insert into ongoing scenarios, being not that good.
So, the adventures themselves go against the general intent of the book. On the other hand, if you examine these as standalone adventures, you’ll find more value here. The initial scenario “Fear of Flying” is one of the best ones here, showcasing the early days of commercial air travel. There is also an interesting one involving a haunted train (of sorts), and the final Russian scenario (involving a sleigh ride as the main “travel” theme) is long and intricate. This is by no means a bad compilation. Sure, it doesn’t quite do what it claims to do, and sure, some of the adventures are in the “not that hot” category… but there are a few interesting ones here, and it’s always possible that even some of the more intricate offerings here could be inserted into an ongoing game with some prepwork. There is perhaps more emphasis here on “action adventure” than you’d have in typical Cthulhu, but the general travel theme does tend to push in that direction.