Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A Horror--ible book.....

The Monstumologist by Rick Yancy

Rick Yancey's throwback gothic horror novel, THE MONSTRUMOLOGIST, takes its readers back to 1888 New England where young Will Henry narrates the strange tale of his master, Pellinore Warthrop, and their "search and destroy" mission against a bloodthirsty pod of monstrous killers called anthropophagi. These creatures are headless (though not thoughtless), vicious (though not foolish), and gourmands of human flesh (though not averse to mere animal flesh, if no human cuisine is on the menu). The creatures' mouths, located in the stomach-area (how direct!), are not unlike a great white shark's. Perfect for eating, in other words -- wholesale. While Yancey's YA gem is undeniably a "plot book," it is also blessed on other fronts. The characterization, for instance, is excellent. The key characters are not cardboard, but real, with traits both admirable and abominable. Dr. Warthrop sometimes lets science get in the way of his humanity, but he's nothing compared to the dashingly dangerous Jack Kearns, a fellow monstrumologist called into the fray when it is learned that there is not just one, but many, anthropophagi living beneath an otherwise tranquil New England cemetery. Kearns delights in the hunt, and the more dangerous, the better. The trouble is, he'll stop at nothing to accomplish his goals and, to him, the laws of church and state are more a source of amusement than reference. The novel also features a convincingly Victorian style, what with its more advanced vocabulary and numerous allusions to Greek mythology. Both doctors are cool under pressure (and pressure abounds in this creepy book), bringing to mind the unflappable Sherlock Holmes. Overall, it's a singularly well-written book, a riveting display of the horror genre, and, for young Will Henry, a nightmarish coming-of-age tale. Best of all? It's the first of a series. If we are to vicariously hunt more creatures and things that go bump in the night, then, count me in. I haven't had this much fun in a long time.
Review by Ken. C. www.amazon.com

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