How I Spent My Summer Vacation: I Read “Monster” by A. Lee Martinez

Review by Shaun Daniels and Edited by Sharon Wong

For the majority of adults out there, having a summer reading list like in the summer vacation months of your childhood might make you gag.  The idea of being forced to read another boring book labeled a classic would dampen even the darkest summer day.  With the years of oppressive standard summer reading list shackles behind us, it is finally fun to voluntarily pick up a book and read during the summer.  At the top of The Fright Channel’s list is Monster by A. Lee Martinez.  The book is a post-modern take on the horror genre that revels in the humor of the situations that the main characters find themselves in without poking fun at horror tropes all while managing to balance the weight of saving the universe.  Monster is a crash course between three characters: Monster, a freelance cryptobiological containment and rescue services agent; Judy, who is stuck in a dead end job; and Lotus, a powerful being trying to reshape the universe in her likeness.

Monster and Judy first meet at the supermarket where Judy works after a group of yeti invade the frozen aisle to snack on their favorite ice cream, rocky road.  Judy calls animal control in hopes they can help with the yeti situation but instead, they send Monster, an agent who specializes in cryptos (think Bigfoot or Chupacabra).  Using rune magic, Monster saves the day with the assistance of Judy and a paper gnome.  She is thankful for Monster’s help but quickly forgets the details of the encounter due to the Merlin lobe, a part of the brain which allows people to perceive magic yet is underdeveloped in most people.  This is the first but not last encounter between the two; in fact, Monster and Judy continue to cross paths with the possibility that Judy may have a hand in the recent increase in rare crypto encounters.  They are also hunted by the mysterious Lotus who, at the beginning of the book seems more of a spinster and a cat hoarder, may be a millions of years old being of vast power.

Throw out your Steinbecks and Dickens, and grab a book that doesn’t require CliffsNotes.  And for once, enjoy summer reading.


Twitter:  @ALeeMartinez

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