Lovecraftian horror/military sci-fi novel, written by Greg Stolze in 2011. Stolze is probably best known as a game writer and designer -- he's written for RPGs like Unknown Armies, Godlike, Feng Shui, Over the Edge, and plenty of others.
The story jumps around a lot in time, though for most of the novel, we follow a small team of soldiers/mercenaries -- Rick, Dirty John, Hamid, Doug, and Bandit. We follow them throughout the Middle East, Japan, Australia, America, and Turkey as they come into contact with the powers and horrors hidden where no one knows to look.
Among other things, we discover Saddam Hussein's secret occult weapons program. We watch over a monstrous being buried in Turkey, completely immune to every attempt by the Turkish army to destroy it and perfectly content to patiently wait for a way to seep out of its underground prison.
We tag along as an American rock band and its film crew visit an isolated Japanese island to film a music video -- and are quickly devoured by something hidden in the ruins. We witness the destruction of an Afghan village and a company of private security consultants because of a single unorthodox, terrifying weapon.
And we get to see what happens when the things hidden in the dark corners of the world meet the terrors from beyond space -- and who survives the chaos.
It's an outstanding book, exciting, terrifying, bizarre, and just plain fun to read.
You have to give a lot of credit to how great the characters are in this book. Our team of mercenaries are wonderfully appealing characters -- Rick is the almost noble leader, and Dirty John is the funniest, and probably the most fun, but you feel a lot of affection for all of them. They're not one-dimensional military supermen -- they've got flaws and fears and dreams and sorrows galore. They're mostly working dirty jobs in rotten wars, trying to squeeze out enough cash so they can get out of the rotten wars and dirty jobs and find a section of the world where they won't have to worry about their pasts catching up to them. And even the minor characters are strong, too. The doomed rock band, as well as their entourage, are outstanding, as are the star-crossed lovers in Turkey, the crusading investigator tracking the soldiers, the wealthy Japanese doctor with a secret to hide, and pretty much everyone else we meet.
We get three different monstrous threats -- all fairly familiar Lovecraftian horrors, though I won't spoil which specific ones they are, because it's more fun to see how they get introduced. And they're presented in such unique ways that you may not immediately recognize them. It's great to look at these Mythos monstrosities in new and unusual ways. It makes them stranger, more original, and more frightening.
And the terrors here aren’t limited to the supernatural. These guys are soldiers, and they have to deal with IEDs, snipers, ambushes, and most terrifying of all, bureaucracy. It's a great blending of otherworldly scares with gritty, real-life perils.
It's a vastly fun book, perfect for anyone who needs some offbeat Lovecraftian chills.