Chthulhu’s Car Park
I read this book as part of the Speculative Fiction Indie Novella Championship where I’m part of Team Jamreads. This review contains my own thoughts and may not reflect the opinion or final rating of the team.
Going by the title, I did not expect to enjoy this book. I thought it’d be some silly horror/comedy with tentacle monsters in a car park or something. To my surprise, I found this wasn’t the case. Sure, there are monsters in the car park, but the story isn’t trying to be a funny one, and it’s not silly – except maybe for the premise as a whole, but that’s something you’ll just have to deal with.
The main character of the story is Sam who works at a car park attendant. She keeps an eye on the premises, and she helps people use the machine that lets them pay and get out of the car park. It’s not a glamorous job, but Sam does her best to do it well so she can take some pride in it and make it bearable.
Maybe it’s because I’ve worked so long in customer support, but the part about Sam’s dead-end job actually made the book more enjoyable. She observes the people she encounters and the things they do, and it’s just the kind of crazy you’d expect. Enough to make you groan, but not so wild as to be unbelievable. Makes me glad I don’t work with people face to face.
What about Cthulhu, though?
Well, there are monsters coming out of a cistern at the lowest level of the car park, and they’re heralding the end of the world. The main plot of the book is about Sam and her fellow car park attendants trying to stop that. There’s also a chaos magician, a junkie thrall, good friends in time of need, and managers hell-bent on micromanaging your every move.
What I’ll whine about
I’d have liked a more Lovecraftian vibe. Not in the prose, because that’d be a drag to read, but in the feel and atmosphere. The story is missing that dense, ominous mood of soul-shattering, unfathomable cosmic horror.
What I’ll gush about
Concept and execution. I feel like it takes a certain kind of courage to come up with an idea like this and not try to make it into a pulp comedy. It also takes a definite skill to bring the characters, their job, and their city to life. I’m really quite impressed the author pulled it all off.
A quick read about life in customer support, complicated by monsters.