Book Review: Eight Cylinders
Wow! What a high-octane blast of adrenaline, guns, cars, and tentacles!
SUMMARY: Sebastian “Seb” McAlister has run out of luck in Vegas. Cornered by a trigger-happy gang and shot through the stomach, he makes a desperate escape in his supercharged Hellcat. Fate guides Seb safely out of Sin City and into the desert, but as his wheels fade into the horizon, he fades into darkness. He awakes among a tiny community in the middle of nowhere. A mountain range circles the hodgepodge of shacks like prison walls looming high. And the warden that resides in those mountains is big, ugly, and deadly—a creature straight out of a Lovecraftian nightmare. If Seb hopes to escape that wayward way station, he’ll need enough cunning to outwit a force beyond comprehension… and a fast car. With a little luck and a ragtag group of would-be monster mashers racing alongside him, Seb just might have a shot of making it through the mountains alive.
The story makes no pretenses about it’s desire for fast-paced action, dropping you immediately into a gunfight in the opening scene. After losing his best friend to a bullet, Seb barely makes it out of the firefight alive, bleeding profusely as he speeds down the interstate in his Charger. Trusting his directions to a magic eight ball, he eventually passes out and awakes several days later in a barren desert surrounded by mountains on all sides. Seb can’t understand why the motley crew living there would want to stay, but, in another near-death experience, he quickly learns that there is something living in the mountains and underground that doesn’t want them to leave. Something tentacled and massive on a mind-bending scale.
Being a novella, and judging from the cover, I expected this story to move quickly. And boy does it! I would guess approximately 50% of the book is characters driving fast, shooting guns, and desperately trying to avoid the giant tentacles. It’s a lot of fun and the story has a lot of interesting elements, but unfortunately many aren’t fleshed out enough and raise more questions than answers (how did they get there, what is this place, where did the monster come from, what’s going on with time, who the heck is the young/old scabbed up girl Mary, etc). And then it ends with a twist that, again, is intriguing but perplexing.
If a Lovecraftian/Mad Max mashup sounds good to you (as it did to me), then this is probably for you! I don’t care for writing that goes into the weeds on technical details, and it started to do that a little with the cars and guns. Plus there’s SO much more I want to know about this world that the author has created. Maybe there will be a sequel? Either way it’s a fun ride and certainly worth the 100 pages and quick hour’s read!