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Fear Institute is definitely a departure from the previous two in the series in terms of tone and setting. It felt like Howard was trying something new (and Lovecraftian) that didn't always fit. There were times where Cabal felt slightly out of character, or that the analogies used for humor dragged on for too long to really be funny. However, it really picks up toward the second half, and imo the ending alone makes it fully worth reading!
Performance wise, Nicolas Guy Smith's iteration of Cabal was missing his German accent, which was a little disappointing after the first two books' audio renditions. But I got used to it after a while, and everything else was spot on.
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