Monster, Dave Zeltserman
I was a bit hesitant to read Monster when I realised it wasn’t another of the normal Zeltserman, badass out of jail, crime or vengeance novel, but was instead a retelling of the classic Dr Frankenstein tale. Even though I am a huge Zeltserman fan, and he has fast become one of my favourite authors, I have to admit I have never managed to stick with Mary Shelley’s classic tale all the way to the end. But then I remembered how good Zeltserman was the last time he tackled the horror genre with his masterpiece The Caretaker of Lorne Field, so decided to give Monster a go. Surprisingly Monster actually was a crime novel and a vengeance novel as well, both of those aspects to a larger level than most of Zeltserman’s novels in those two genres. I think most of us are familiar with the basic plot of Shelley’s classic novel, even if it’s just from popular culture references, and that’s all you need to appreciate what Zeltserman has written here. Even if you had never heard of Dr Frankenstein or his monster before opening this, you’d still enjoy this as the story makes sense on its own. But if you’re familiar with Shelley’s basic plot, the thing to realise here is that this tale parallels the major events in that one, but instead of being told from the Dr Frankenstein’s point of view, Monster is written from his creation’s. There is a lot of stuff Dr Frankenstein didn’t tell the ship captain whose account Mary Shelley based her tale upon. According to the monster or Friederich Hoffman as he claims he really is, Dr Frankenstein wasn’t a nice guy at all who brought life to a bunch of already dead body parts. As Zeltserman’s tale begins Hoffman tells us he was framed for the brutal rape of his fiance then tortured, he originally believed to death, during the executioner’s torture wheel’s final moments. Confused while waking up, unable to move but regaining his strength, he is told through reading the lips of a severed female head to hide his intelligence because the man who visits and makes alterations to his body is pure evil. Throughout the novel the confused creature will journey across Europe and learn the pure evil of Dr Frankenstein and other so called noble men and women as it strives to have its vengeance.
A must read novel for fans of the classic horror tale or anyone who is just after a really good read.