Publication date: November 13th, 2020 Links:  Amazon  |  Goodreads S ebastian “Seb” McAlister has run out of luck in Vegas. Cornered by a tr...

Review || Eight Cylinders by Jason Parent

Publication date: November 13th, 2020

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.

What happens when you combine fast cars, Las Vegas gang shootouts, and Lovecraft? You get this weird but fun acerbic romp with Jason Parent! Eight Cylinders is the love child of cosmic horror and Fast and the Furious. 

The story opens with Sebastian “Seb” McAlister in the middle of an abandoned department store parking lot shoot out with the local Chinese drug lord questioning the mini Magic 8 ball he'd taken from said drug lord's eye socket. Yes, you read that right. First, someone was using it as a fake eye. Second, Seb took it and pocketed it. Third, he's actually asking it for advice. When his partner in crime is killed and Seb is wounded, he takes off in his stolen SRT Hellcat with no destination except the advice of his mini Magic 8 ball. He passes out from blood loss and wakes up trapped in the mountains of the desert with strange companions and surrounded by a giant tentacle monster that won't let them leave.

Seb is an interesting character. He's a criminal with a conscience and an erstwhile crime noir internal dialogue. He cares about three things: his partner, his girlfriend, and his new boosted hot rod, so let's not give him too much credit, shall we? Admittedly selfish, reckless, and maybe a bit crazy, he's still the perfect anti-hero to band together this merry bunch of weirdos, uniting them under a common cause and possibly leading them to freedom. 

Is this sci-fi? Action? Horror? Who knows and who really cares? This novella isn't going to strain your brain. It's meant to be fast and dirty like Saturday nights drifting at the track.  It starts with a bang and ends with a movie-style ending—unfinished but satisfying. It's action-adventure storytelling at its best. Lots of guns and fast cars and regular guys turned badass. Don't expect things to make sense because they won't. Don't expect answers that you couldn't get from a Magic 8 ball. Things just are and they don't always fit within the range of what is possible. Eight Cylinders is just an entertaining read that puts the pedal to the metal and rides hell for leather for the hills.