Sunday, May 15, 2016
Alan Lennox and the Temp Job of Doom by Brian Olsen
Synopsis From Publisher:
Alan Lennox has been assigned yet another soul-crushing temp job, keeping him from his first loves - drinking, playing video games, and looking for a boyfriend. But Alan's new job proves to be anything but boring when his co-workers start turning up dead. The mysterious megacorporation Amalgamated Synergy has taken a deadly interest in Alan and his three roommates, and the hapless quartet are woefully unequipped to deal with the psychotic secretaries, murderous middle managers, and villainous vice-presidents hunting them down. Their investigation leads them deep into Amalgamated Synergy's headquarters, but can Alan and his friends stay alive long enough to discover who - or what - waits for them on the top floor?
Picking a book, totally on a whim, can have it's drawbacks. Often times, especially if it's a book you haven't really heard of before, a synopsis can sound promising, but the book itself leaves you cold. You end up kicking yourself in the ass for even giving it a try, and swear with your last breath, you will never be so reckless is choosing your next read.
Then there are those rare times that the whim pays off, and pays off in spades. I'm not even sure how I ended up spotting Alan Lennox and the Temp Job of Doom, but it's not something I would normally give a second glance to. I've had mixed results with urban fantasy, so I tend to stay clear of it, unless it's series or author I'm already familiar with. There was something about this cover, and yes, I'm going to blame the cover, that just grabbed me. It also helps that the book was free at the time, so I figured what the hell, it won't be like I'm out any money. So I downloaded the book, started to read, and didn't put it down until I flicked past the last page.
The book opens with a classic horror scene. A single, lonely individual, stuck at work in her Tokyo office building, long past the time when her coworkers have left for the day, is staring at her computer screen. Naturally she's not working, rather playing a game that simulates working at an office job. What's better than being an office drone, than playing a game as an office drone? When she finally shuts off the computer, ready to go home, she is startled to see the reflection of her manager in the dark screen. Next thing she knows, she is being chased through the building by her murderous boss with a baseball bat, and I'm pretty sure you can figure out the rest. From Tokyo, the scene shifts to New York City, where the rest of the action takes place.
Alan, the hero of this book, has just stormed out of another boring temp job, and insists on meeting his roommates for a drink at their favorite lesbian bar. This scene sets up the group dynamic, though we have already met them separately. Dakota Bell is the ambitious girl, plugging away at her first job out of college, working for Amalgamated Synergy. She's been there for months, but has never been given a task to do. Mark Park is a personal trainer, more concerned with picking up women and setting up Alan with a hot client, than he is anything else. By the way, Amalgamated Synergy is at work in his life too. The gym he works at is owned by them, the hot chick he picks up is a VP for the company, and the client he sets Alan up with, is lawyer involved in a lawsuit on behalf of a certain game developer. You know, the game the office drone in Tokyo was playing, right before her brains were bashed in, the game every single character in this book is playing. Then there is Caitlin Ross, the struggling actress, hellbent on finding the next big gig. She gets suckered into working for Amalgamated too, as a voice actress. No reason is given, the director of the shoot has not clue why they are doing it, neither does the corporate exec who shows up to supervise. And that's sets the scene, though I'm leaving a whole bunch of details out.
What follows is a hilariously gruesome, workplace killing spree. It takes a satirical look at the modern workplace, poking fun at the size of global corporations, and the hive like mentality they instill in their employees. Alan Lennox and the Temp Job of Doom, also plays with the precepts of horror, fantasy, and science fiction. It blends the genres together, breaking all the rules, and has a ton of fun at the same time. In that regard, it reminds me of Horrorstor by Grady Hendrix, poking fun at not only modern society, but the genre(s) the book is being written in.
I'm hoping the remaining three books of the series, each one features a roommate as the main character, are half as good as this one. From what I can tell, though the nightmarish situations change, each book will find the roommates fighting for their lives, surrounded by satire and gore. I can't wait to dive into them. This was definitely a whim that paid off.