Horror Book Review
Title: Cthulhu Armageddon
Author: C.T. Phipps
Publication Date: August 22, 2021Publisher: Macabre Ink
Author: C.T. Phipps
Publication Date: August 22, 2021
Cthulhu Armageddon is a Book that I first had the pleasure of reading a few years ago. With a new publisher giving it new life, and C.T. Phipps taking the opportunity to add an extra chapter that serves as an epilogue, I thought I'd revisit it myself.
This is a book that blends the elements of several genres, and does so with surprising success. There's definitely some Mad Max insanity to it, but what struck me most strongly was the sort of homage to two masters of the genre, Stephen King and Brian Lumley, the first with his post-apocalyptic The Stand and the latter with his take on the Cthulhu mythos. It's the Story of John Henry Booth, a stone-cold exterminator of threats to the remnants of humanity. A loyal soldier and respected leader, he is forced to question his very existence when a mysterious encounter leaves him branded a traitor. Declared dead, he sets out with a disgraced torturer to find the truth, seek his revenge, and continue his mission - but only after his wife's monstrous attempt at betrayal goes awry,
There's so much to like about this story - action, horror, humor, and some heavy emotions. It's an incredibly fatalistic look at humanity's future, but it's Booth's interactions with the women around him that drives us to keep going. From the man's affection for a cursed child and a soldier thought lost, to his awkward trust for both a torturer and a cult leader, Phipps keeps the monstrous from completely overwhelming the humanity.
For those wondering about the Cthulhu aspect, it's not just window dressing but a significant part of the story. This is a book that gets very trippy at times, complete with dream world encounters, gods and old ones, magic, and inhuman power. More than once I had to stop, go back, and reread a section just to appreciate how much was going on. The opening discovery of "a genuine, honest-to-god cathedral with soaring towers and architecture" in the middle of nowhere, constructed of "stones seemingly formed from the very night itself," sets the tone for the story, and the climax deep within that same alien temple delivers on every level.
Comprised of equal parts horror, science fiction, and weird western, Cthulhu Armageddon is that rare book that delivers on them all, and which should appeal to a wide audience. It's dark, grim, and deeply unsettling, but unlike its subject matter, never entirely alien. As for the new epilogue, no spoilers, but it does tie up some loose ends and provide a little closure for the human element of the tale.
Rating: ♀ ♀ ♀ ♀ ♀
My sincere thanks to the publisher for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review.