Midnight in the Garden Centre of Good and Evil (Invaders From Beyond!)

Posted: February 4, 2016 in Book reviews

By Colin Sinclair

51tnhOj8SPL._SX321_BO1,204,203,200_After an incident with his fiancée’s father’s Rolls Royce and a large body of water, Miller has lost everything; the woman he was due to marry, his place at university, and the love—and more importantly financial support—of his parents. Mum and Dad have had enough of Miller’s lax attitude and decide on tough love.

Kicked out of home Miller needs to find gainful employment, and he’s desperate enough that he’ll take a job at a seedy out of town garden centre with an eclectic group of staff, very few customers, and a side-line in the kind of foliage you don’t find in Homebase.

He doesn’t think things can get any worse, but then a bright and shiny, big new garden centre opens up across the road, a garden centre staffed by strange plastic sorts who look like they might be part of a cult.

Aliens wouldn’t really invade via a garden centre though, would they?

Pretty soon Miller and his fellow losers might find they’re Earth’s first line of defence!

First in the interests of full disclosure, I should point out that Colin Sinclair is one of my fellow authors published as a result of Abaddon Books’ open submission call. I should further point out that this fact has no bearing on my review, except insofar as authorial solidarity encouraged me to take a read.

And I’m very glad I did because there’s a lot to enjoy here. The fact that it’s a novella means the story never outstays its welcome, in fact it leaves you wanting more, and Sinclair’s wonderfully irreverent prose ensures it’s a fun read.

The notion of body snatching alien invasions, of plant based body snatching alien invasions, is of course nothing new, but the strength of this story lies less in the plot and more in the engaging group of characters Sinclair creates, and their interactions as they face up to what’s really going on across the road, and you care for each and every one, which given the brevity of the story is no mean feat.

Part 1950s’ alien invasion, part slacker comedy, part sitcom, part Quatermass, the tone of the story manages to be spot on throughout. I couldn’t put this down—though I had to when the train drew into the station—because I was eager to see whether Miller and co would prevail against the plant people, and in the end I came away thinking that some British production company could do a lot worse than make a heck of a low budget cult classic out of this!

Highly recommended.

  1. Oooh, that sounds right up my alley! I like Abaddon’s output, they tend to publish what I think of as Good Pulp, which like a Good Burger may not appeal to snobs, but can be heavenly when it’s done right: fast, meaty and tasty.

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