M.S. Sutton’s new novel, Central Park, in the Fall, is a satisfying read all around. Pap, the main character, starts off in your average everyday post-apocalyptic wasteland inhabited by telepathic tabbies and psychotic traders. But it’s not all fun and games: Pap’s baby sister is soon kidnapped, his caretaker killed, and there’s a sinister presence slowly devouring the very souls of all who dwell within the city. Naturally, it’s up to Pap to save the day—or, rather, the universe. With the help of a crotchety witch and wizard duo, our teenage hero discovers that he must learn to bend the rules of space and time if he’s to make things right. And he does bend the rules. If one world doesn’t agree with him, he simply steps into another, past and present, in a game of cat and mouse that will ultimately pit him against the most evil of all evils.
There’s a lot here that will attract teenage readers and RPG gamers, though Central Park packs enough of a punch to lure older readers as well. Fans of furry / anthro lit will get their kicks from Eona, Pap’s humanoid love interest—and there’s enough humor amidst the horror to take the edge off an otherwise ominous premise. The plot is not overly weighted by philosophical details; likewise, as this is a dark fantasy novel, there is gore, but it’s added as a garnish.
Overall, a freaky-fun and fulfilling treat from M.S. Sutton.