To be completely honest, I had never heard of Hunter Shea before so I really was not sure about reading “The Montauk Monster” when I first saw it. When I saw the story synopsis and the praise from Gord Rollo, I was sold and grabbed a copy of the book to see what it was all about.
The town of Montauk is a quiet little town in New York that is home to the gamut of society from the rich and famous to the poor at their wit’s end. Nothing of note ever happens in Montauk and that is just how Gray Dalton likes it. Having moved out of the big city to get away from the constant crime, he is one police officer that enjoys the peace and quiet. Unfortunately for Gray and the residents of Montauk, all of this is about to change when two of the town’s residents are found dismembered on the beach. Everyone is hoping that this is an isolated incident. Those hopes are not going to be realized.
A series of strange animal attacks kicks off the terror in the small town and it is quickly apparent that these are not ordinary animal attacks. As the death toll mounts and the mystery deepens, Gray frantically searches for answers while the government rolls in to try and contain the violence. The biggest question on Gray’s mind is whether they government wants to stop the monster or if they just want to keep any knowledge of it hidden. Gray struggles for the life of the town while unravelling the mystery of the monster which may or may not be a greater danger than that of the government.
“The Montauk Monster” was a fun read of a monster novel that reminded me of some of the works of Richard Laymon or Jack Ketchum. This is just a foot on the pedal, all-out tale of a monsters attacking a small town that pulls no punches with its continual action and violence. These are monsters, after all, and they waste no time in taking out their wrath on anyone that comes near. There are no apologies made for the violence and the gore level is ratcheted up fairly high for a mainstream novel. Still, if you like your monsters with no remorse and no hesitation in killing anything that crosses their paths, this is definitely the book for you. This is one of those rare books that reads much like a movie and it could easily be turned into a great horror movie.
The thing that keeps this novel from being better than it was is that that whole conspiracy aspect of the novel became a bit much for me and just seemed to hinder the monster mayhem. While I enjoy a good conspiracy theory and did not mind having it incorporated into the story, I just felt that it was a bit overdone and kept the story from flowing as well toward the end as it did at the beginning. I do like the fact that this book was inspired by a real event (of a strange animal that washed up on the shoreline a couple years ago) and the author decided to go with this angle as a way of somewhat explaining that. I would have preferred that this had been kept to a lower level and that the monsters not lose a bit of the spotlight like they did. Still, with the relative lack of pure monster novels that hit the shelves these days, this book is well worth a read.
I would like to thank Kensington Books and NetGalley for this review copy. “The Montauk Monster” is available now.