When it comes to Lovecraftian fiction, I’m a picky reader. I’ve got a whole pile of books I need to give back to various friends with a sad shake of the head and a “thanks for the loan.” I really liked the Fall of Cthulhu graphic novels and another Lovecraftian book I recently read & enjoyed was Seamus Cooper’s Mall of Cthulhu.
Our protagonist is Ted, a mythology student who’s still suffering a stunted life and PTSD from having to take out a nest of sorority vampires ten years ago in college. He’s stuck in a minimum wage job and his only real friend is Laura, the girl whose life he saved and to whom he’s been tied ever since that fateful day.
Their friendship is strictly platonic (Laura’s a lesbian) and sometimes a bit of a strain on them both. Ted follows Laura from city to city because he can’t handle living on his own. Laura feels grateful to Ted and rather likes him as a friend, but she wishes he weren’t so dependent on her.
Unfortunately, when Ted pockets a CD-Rom (book was written in the earlier 00s) dropped by a rude patron, events spiral out of control. He finds himself the suspect in a mass murder as well as the target of Cthulhu cultists. With Laura’s help, he stops running from the cultists and starts investigating them.
It’s up to Ted to keep the cultists from raising Cthulhu in the middle of a crowded mall. Will he succeed? Will the consequences be too dire for him? Or will this finally turn around his life?
What I Liked
I think “romp” is a good adjective to describe Mall of Cthulhu. Sure, the fate of the world was at stake, but the writing and tone were light enough that it didn’t drag you down. It also felt more like a novel than a “Lovecraftian” novel. There were Lovecraftian elements, there was even Cthulhu, but the book didn’t feel like it was trying terribly hard to be a Lovecraftian book.
It was probably the lack of forced Lovecraftianness which made the book so enjoyable. It might be better described as something verging into paranormal mystery.
I also liked the nature of the ending, but I don’t want to give it away.
What I Liked Less
It was or will be a tad dated. The software was generic but may feel even more dated in the future. But there wasn’t enough of it for it to be noticeable very often.
All In All
It was good. It wasn’t high literature and it wasn’t trying to be. It was a bit mystery, a bit thriller, and a bit Lovecraftian. I read it in a couple of days. It made me laugh. I didn’t feel like I saw everything coming.
I recommend it for people who enjoy Lovecraftian things and for people who know a little bit about Lovecraft & enjoy the mystery/thriller genre.