Monday, 14 September 2015

Monsters by Emerald Fennell

review by Maryom

Fowey is a quaint, picturesque seaside town, with not much to occupy a twelve year old having to spend the summer at her aunt and uncle's hotel - until, that is, a rotting corpse is found by fishermen. While everyone else is horrified (but morbidly fascinated) our heroine is delighted! There's nothing she likes more than 'true crime' books, the gorier the better, so having a real crime on the doorstep is like a dream come true. With a similarly inclined boy staying at the hotel, Miles Giffard, she starts to investigate the murders .... but the two of them also begin playing games which re-enact them, always with Miles as the murderer.

First off - a warning! Don't start reading this expecting a straight forward, Famous Five style mystery; this is something much darker and horrific - closer to Neil Mackay's All the Little Guns Went Bang, Bang Bang  but whereas Mackay is looking at the underlying psychological problems that lead to violence, Monsters is playing it for laughs.
From the opening pages as the narrator describes her parents' deaths, we know we're dealing with someone uncaring, disturbed and, as so many people describe her, 'peculiar'. That peculiar-ness just goes on growing, especially after she meets Miles, who soon turns out to have deeper, darker problems of his own.
A picture-postcard fishing village, seemingly innocent children, rotting corpses and a serial killer?  - it's like classic Hammer horror mashed up with Shaun of the Dead! I loved it - especially the unexpected twist in the tail! For the right reader, it's great, but the unwary and squeamish may wonder what they've let themselves in for.

Maryom's Review - 4 stars
Publisher - Hot Key Books
Genre - teen/YA/crossover comedy horror

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