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Monster: 04/28/13

cover art

A Lee Martinez has written just about a million books. OK — that's an exaggeration but it feels like that many. His profile on GoodReads says "more than a dozen." Suffice it to say, it's enough to feel like I've certainly read some. As it turns out (to my immense surprise), Monster is the first one I've read.

The book opens with a Yeti going for all the ice cream in a convenience store. It's like something right out of Supernatural — one of the silly episodes (instead of the dreary arc plot ones). Judy, the unlucky cashier on duty during this rampage, isn't sure who to call. So she opts for animal control (it is a big, fuzzy, perhaps woolly, monster, after all). What she gets instead is Monster who specializes in "cryptobiological control."

Monster starts off pretty fluffy. The first couple of chapters read like monster of the week type episodes — really more like short stories with recurring characters than an actually on-going plot. As the book progresses, though, some heavy hitting themes start to leak in. What looks like a Japanese lyric episode of Teen Titans ends up being a black shirt episode of Farscape.

Given its goofy yellow cover and the light tone of the first seven five pages or so, I was taken aback by the gradual but persistent shift in tone. It was my book to read while my kids did their swim lessons, meaning I was pretty much stuck with it. Difficult, dark and somewhat existential details are hard to focus on in a noisy and busy public setting like the bleachers at a high school swimming pool! For that situation, Monster didn't hold up for me.

But I do plan to try other Martinez books. I just won't take them to the pool with me!

Three stars

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