Review: Eight Cylinders by Jason Parent

Rating: 7.0/10


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.


Thanks to Fireside Horror and the author for an advance listening copy of Eight Cylinders for review consideration. This did not influence my thoughts or opinions.

Eight Cylinders is a Lovecraftian nightmare slapped on Max Max: Fury Road with a Twilight Zone kicker. It is a quick read that packs a punch, and is perfect for a lunch break if you need to get the adrenaline up.

Having read a couple of Parent’s stories, I’ve noticed he has a knack for getting straight to the point and bringing on either the scare factor or taking the reader on a thrill-ride. What is missing is character depth, but honestly, there isn’t much point to get too muddled down with characters across an 82 page novella. Seb is about the limit to development you are going to get, and he is fleshed out enough for you to at least be on his side and want to see him through his predicament.

Like in ‘They Feed’, secondary characters are filler to either help or hinder the protagonist, but offer comic relief, antagonistic tendencies, and sometimes the objective the story is progressing with. While a majority of the characters this go round feel straight out of ‘The Hills Have Eyes’ (which btw, F that film and the horse Craven rode in on), what you are really here for is the Lovecraftian beast that seems to be keeping this ragtag group of folks in the mountains.

Parent really kills it when it comes to just-plain-fun reads. They won’t have a ton of lasting value, but I really don’t believe they are supposed to. The one thing they do leave you with is something to recommend to other readers like yourself. And for a few extra bucks, you can listen to Joe Hemple narrate, which is pretty sweet IMO.

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