He's also a monster, which makes Persons the perfect thing to hunt him. Over the course of his ancient, arcane existence, he's hunted gods and demons, and broken them in his teeth.
The story opens with the kid in Persons' office, looking to hire him for the job. Persons' dialogue is all 1930s-40s gumshoe, including using terms for women that would be considered sexist today ("dame", "skirt", "broads", etc.), but excusable for the time period. Khaw follows it up by creating a juicy noir atmosphere.
The cold feels good, real good, a switchblade chill cutting deep into the cancer of a thousand years' nap.But as chapter one starts winding down, I realize that the story isn't taking place back then, it's contemporary.
These days, it's all bae and fleek, bootylicious selfies and cultural appropriation done on brand.It was jarring, and no explanation was given. It would've made more sense to either place the story back several decades or update Persons' slang to something more fitting of the times.
I loved the way Khaw made use of scents to describe how Parsons interacted with his environment.
There's a pervasive smell in the hallway. Not quite a stench, but something unpleasant. Like the remnants of a molly party, or old sex left to crust on skin.Khaw then uses that scent imagery to let the Lovecraft vibe seep in.
The stink grows strong: less human, more maritime malfeasance. A reek of salt and hard use, of drowned things rotten with new life.Until it's staring at us, straight in the face.
In his agitation, his skin splits, spreads to frame a moist blue eye, cataracted and lethargically sullen.From here on, Khaw goes all in on body horror visceral imagery that echoes Lovecraft.
The thing in his neck is a blasphemy, a mutagenic outrage of flesh, an insult to man and beast and all of us that came crawling out of the ocean before.But by the time the story reaches its climactic battle, I grew weary of the constant fleshy metaphors in the narrative. The whole sinew, squishy flesh metaphors, and too many eyeballs references lost their impact on me. And the battle itself, which had been built up to be this epic clash didn't really feel epic to me. It was kind of over before I knew it.
What I thought was much better was the epilogue. The conversation that takes place there between Parsons (There's a second book and Parsons is in the blurb so that wasn't a spoiler!) and the acolyte was really enjoyable. Khaw brings in a deity that Lovecraft rarely used and thus got to shape said deity in an interesting way that, for me, made up for things.