Anyone who keeps up with my reading knows I’m a fan of A. Lee Martinez. He manages to mix the funny with the dramatic very well, enough so that he creates his own little sub-genre, one that I really enjoy. Part of me was initially concerned over whether or not he could recreate the charm of Gil’s All Fright Diner, but he managed to pull off repeated successes with his next three novels. I’m a little out of order with Monster (I still haven’t read Too Many Curses, an unfortunate title that always manages to lodge a Primus song in my brain after reading it), but I’m sad to say that I was a little disappointed with this novel.
Maybe it was my expectations, but there was something lacking with this novel. The idea of a cryptobioligical pest control service was fine on its own, and I was even willing to accept some of the weird rules that the author created to keep the plot moving forward, but a lot of this book seemed forced, which hasn’t been the case with his other books. When you’re dealing with horror or fantasy or science fiction, where the bulk of the story is written with rules that clearly don’t exist in the real world, then coming up with wacky “house rules” to explain parts of the story is perfectly fine. Sometimes, though, it all gets a little carried away, and that was how I felt with what was happening in Monster. At first, it seemed like there were two distinct stories, one with Monster and one with Judy, but it slowly became clear that their stories were to remain intersected. The whole thing just felt forced, and in turn, it didn’t feel like it had the same level of charm as the author’s previous works.
Given all that, I enjoyed the story, and never felt like I wasn’t going to finish it. I just feel that, if someone is going to read A. Lee Martinez for the first time, I would recommend any of his other books over this one. It just doesn’t stand up as well against the rest of his ouvre.