Verdict: This Indy Jones-style adventure set in a WWII-era world in which Lovecraft’s monsters and magic exists delivers cinematic action and the Mythos we love, all at a satisfying pace. But opt for the written version if possible, since the audio version contains some very distracting accent misfires.
What if Indiana Jones, swashbuckling archeologist, had lived in the world of Lovecraft’s creations? He would be a magic-wielding, magical sword-swinging shoggoth-hunter, of course. It should be noted up front that The Statement of Andrew Doran does not have much, if anything, to do with H.P. Lovecraft’s story The Statement of Randolph Carter. The story is not a slow-building horror with any sort of nuance or atmosphere. Author Matthew Davenport set out to incorporate as many of Lovecraft’s fictional elements into this story as possible, and the title is merely a grab at another of Lovecraft’s works. The story pulses with Indiana-Jones style action, complete with Nazis, cultists and magical attacks.
Picture yourself at Bizarro World Epcot Center, where you’re in line for a Lovecraft-themed ride. Let’s call the ride The Statement of Andrew Doran. You get into one of the cars on the track and the ride begins. It’s a fast ride, showing you shoggoths right off the bat, then Deep Ones, and followers of Yig, then Migos and on and on. You’re on rails, enjoying a storyline that really takes a back seat to a tour of Lovecraft’s monsters, one after another. The ride jolts you around, the animatronic monsters get killed left and right by the animatronic Andrew Doran that appears in each life-size diorama. It’s really fun ride!
Then the ride ends, promising a sequel. You walk away knowing that you didn’t experience anything in the style of Lovecraft. The images and names were merely borrowed. But it moved forward at a nice clip, and you’d ride the sequel if you had the chance.
A note about the audiobook: There was an 800-pound shoggoth in the room with regards to the audio version of this book. The narration was performed by Shaun Toole, whose reading voice is almost a dead ringer for Mayor Adam West (played by Adam West) on Family Guy. When he performed the spoken parts of the protagonist Andrew Doran, one could tell that the goal was to actually sound like Harrison Ford’s Indy, and for the most part it is quite serviceable. The problem came when he speaks the part of the female protagonist, a beautiful French woman. Unfortunately, Mr. Toole’s impersonation of a French woman oscillates between a Chinese woman, a Mexican woman, and something far more cringe-worthy and off-putting. Normally a misfire in accents can be overlooked, but this female character had a tremendous amount of dialogue in the story and the performance derails the experience almost completely. If you can get your hands on the written version of this story, go ahead and do that.