Christy has returned to West Virginia for her grandmother's funeral. She had no idea she would end up staying there, but stay there she did. And now she is living in her grandmother's old cabin in the middle of the woods. Which would be cozy, if it were not for the killer that was stalking and killing people all around the county. As more people are harmed, Christy has an idea who, or more appropriately what, is behind the carnage. But could it be possible? Do monsters like this really exist?
Wow. I thought I had read some good monster stories, but this was unlike anything I had read, and I mean that as a very sincere compliment. Monster story frightened me, sickened me, and mesmerized me. The way this story was told seemed unique to me, and this monster is certain to scare you.
I really liked the setting of this book. As someone who grew up in the Appalachian foothills, I know how creepy backwoods areas can be, and it made for the perfect setting for this story. I also really enjoyed the characters, and seeing their relationships develop over the course of the book. I was most enthralled by the development of the "monster", not only in how he came to be, but in how he lost all semblance of humanity.
As a long time horror lover, both in film and book form, I have to say, I would love to see this book come alive on film. If done right, it could make for a great feature film, and even a low budget movie could do well with this story; I am a firm believer that there is real value to B movies. Overall, I was impressed by Griffin's writing, and it gave me the same feelings I get when I read Stephen King. That is not something that I can say about many horror writers.
I received a review copy of this book courtesy of the author.
on February 11, 2012
Once this story takes off, hang on for the ride. Great characters, great dialog, and good ol' fashion horror. While I loved the story overall, it was the very end that got to me. What a great way to end it. I don't recall seeing any editing errors except one, and it jarred me. At location 4191, the author describes a ring being distorted into an "ellipsis" rather than, say, a "flattened ellipse". An ellipsis is a series of dots, ..., to indicate something being left out in something. An ellipse is an egg-shaped figure. Other than that, this book is fun to read and worth the price.
on August 8, 2011
I read a fellow reviewer's review on this book just to weigh our opinions against one another, and then I read another and another and then with my opinion, I think I can safely report that everyone agrees that this book should be considered a "cozy" horror story that has a sort of backwoods redneck horror atmosphere. You know the scene, someone is dead, a bunch of characters go "hunting" in the scary, dark woods. Some live, some die, some meet the monster that goes bump in the night. That's how this story reads. It's a good, familiar type read while introducing us to some fun characters, some that make it, some that don't and a truly crazy monster (that's crazy in a spooky, don't turn the lights off sort of way). Throughout it all though, there is a unique and likeable writing style and if you are a lover of scary movies, this book is for you.
What I disliked: I am a lover of characters in my books, but I am finding many authors that seem to be throwing in character after character for no reason. That is sort of the case here, except because some of the characters are victims, I sort of am okay with it. But I can't help but wonder if it really would have made that big of a difference if there were less characters and still the amount of victims if it would have been so bad?
The book for me was slow in some spots. I felt there could have been better flow to the story. Now having said that, I'm going to turn around and compliment the writer on an excellent writing style that presented the story in a unique yet familiar way. Perhaps a slightly shorter tale would have been better.
What I liked: I really liked a point of view in the story that was presented from the monster's side. Yes, it's been done, but this was done well and I appreciated it.
This book is a classic horror story written in a unique way by an author who has proven herself to me to be special. I will speak nothing derogatory about this author and indeed, I am hoping on the fan bandwagon. Maybe I'm not sitting in the front seat, but I'm still on the wagon.
on June 8, 2011
"Never moon a werewolf." - Mike Binder
Christy McCauley is back in West Virginia. her homecoming is far from pleasant. her grandmother has just passed away. after the funeral, Chrissy learns that Gram bequeathed to her a cabin in Misty Valley, thirty acres of land, seventy thousand dollars and a life insurance policy worth one hundred thousand dollars.
she then decides to leave behind her job as assistant technical writer at Manning Graphics in South Carolina and invites her colleague and best friend Graeme Pierce for a visit.
meanwhile, something is out there in the hollows and woods of rural Augusta County. it stalks, it kills and is hungry for more.
while reading this book, i fondly recalled memories of my high school teacher who used to regale us with stories of werewolves a few minutes before she dismissed us from class. i also remember The Howling series by Gary Brandner.
McCarty Griffin's take on the werewolf was a delightful and frightening read. i loved how she portrayed life in "hillbilly" country with its interesting characters and their idiosyncrasies.
Chrissy's friend Graeme with his city ways was entertaining and memorable. Chrissy's strained relationship with her mother was contrasted with Chrissy's close connection with her father. her oldest friends Tess and her husband David are shown as a loving and supportive couple. the widow Marla Fullard, her emotional state and what she had to go through were aptly described.
these are just some of the players in this book. readers may find a lot of them showing up here and there but each had stories to tell and all of them are linked together as the novel progresses.
though i had some niggles - which i cannot mention here as they would lead to spoilers - Monster Story was still a fun, fast-paced read.
i never had a dull moment and the last couple of chapters were as gripping as the first few ones.
on April 4, 2012
What a thrill ride of a romp...
What can I say but buy it and read it. Awesome story, very well written, characters you can love and a beast that is totally out of mankind's collective worst nightmare. Characters are real with depth and instant connection, even those that are fodder for the fangs.
I would love to seem more of this story, the same characters would be good, the same "bloodline" of werewolf without doubt. A very compelling, interesting and totally believable take on the lycanthropic myth (suspension of disbelief in werewolves not withstanding.) Totally chilling concept.
There is something about rednecks and werewolves that works so well. I read this book in one sitting, which is in no way an indication of it being a short book, or an easy read.. but more of an indication of my lack of self control when I find a story that is compelling. For a book to do that for me, I have to enjoy the ride, be captured by the characters, feel connection with the story and above all, I have to be satisfied with the ending.. This book delivers on all counts.
Looking forward to more from this author..... You made the list...
on October 11, 2011
I don't typically read horror stories but I thought I would give Monster Story a try, I am truly glad I did. While Monster Story isn't exactly my type of book, I was drawn into the story and became invested in the character's outcome.
Christy is a young woman who has escaped the rural aspect of her home town only to be dropped back in the middle of a true nightmare.
Graemeis Christy's "city-boy" friend. He proves to be a true friend and stands by her side through bad...and well, worse. Living in the city has definitely not prepared him for country life.
Tess has been Christy's best friend since high school. She is now married to Deputy Sheriff David Maloney. David gets called to investigate what is initially believed to a wildlife incident but soon turns into a full-blown horror story.
Will Drummond works for the Department of Natural Resources and is called in to help with the nature problem?!?!
James is Christy's well-meaning dad. The loss of his mom has hit him hard and having Christy back is comforting...at least for a bit.
While I did enjoy all of the characters, they all fell a little flat. They were your typical gun toting country boys and girls with the exception of Graeme who was the typical prissy city boy out of his setting. I didn't feel a sense of chemistry between any of the characters which caused the story to drag a bit. It is a bit difficult for me to bond with characters who don't bond with each other...good or bad. However, that being said, the more I read...the more I had to know what happened in the end.
The world that Monster Story is built around makes a known presence. I actually felt like I was in the backwoods of some far off nightmare. I could imagine running through caves and diving into lakes out of the sheer will to live. It increased the intensity and reality of the story for me.
The great parts of the story definitely outweighed the iffy parts. There were a few typo's and grammar errors that did not take away greatly from the story...just a tad bit of a nuisance.
I would definitely recommend Monster Story to anyone who enjoys horror stories.
* I received a free e-book of Monster Story from the author in exchange for my honest review.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)
on July 30, 2011
Yummy, yummy horror story. I hadn't realized how much I did miss horror stories until I read McCarty Griffin`s writing. Rich, descriptive, suggestive, McCarty Griffin`s world sweeps you off your feet, and you find yourself right there, in the middle of that forest, waiting for the non-romanticized monster to feed on you, instead of romancing you (the more popular outcome of meeting a were-thing). Don't get me wrong, I love it when the monster romances you too, but every once in a while, it's good for the bloodthirsty beast thingy to be just that, bloodthirsty. Puts things in perspective a bit, you know?
The key element in any horror-related type of thing, be it movies, novels or images, is the mood setting, the atmosphere. This is the brilliant part of Monster Story, it sets the mood superbly. This, to me, was the strongest point of the read. From an easy, fairytale like scenery, morphing gradually into a horrifying scene, this world is quite captivating, despite some stereotypes that do float around, like the small-town related things for instance. But stereotypes, a much hated instrument for some, are effective in one thing, they capitalize on all previous suggestions, they're quite effective if you're not actively fighting them off, all the time, every time.
I liked the way the plot developed; it could have gone any way, really. It could have become a classic paranormal romance, it could have become a truly horrific tale, or just a mild cautionary story. The buildup was there, and it could have been steered into any direction. When it did take a clear and final turn towards horror, it did so smoothly but effectively.
Over all I can say I have enjoyed it quite a bit; I wouldn't say I'm in love with it, but I really did like it. If you're into thrilling horror, by all means give this a try, it's a beautiful exponent of the genre.
on July 21, 2011
Set in rural West Virginia, Monster Story is definately what the title tells you, a true monster story. The action starts from almost the very beginning and doesn't let up. Fairly early on, the reader knows what, if not who, the monster is, but that realization is almost secondary because, at heart, the monster is what the title says, a monster. Plain and simple. But without giving that plot point away, the monster is created to be something very different than those in most fiction, which was a refreshing take on it. The emphasis was definately on the monstrous and it made the story that much more thrilling. The setting of the hollows, hills and woods of West Virginia were described so richly and added a great deal to the creepy, spooky, and scary tone of the story. It also helped build the suspense to the point that every little noise made me jump as I read this! This is definately NOT a book for the faint of heart, because there is a fair amount of blood and gore, an integral part of a great horror novel.
But what really made this book were the characters. The interaction between Christy and her best friend Graeme was lively, and at times very humorous. That unexpected lighthearted humor helped keep the book from being overly dark at times. Tess and David had moments in the book that were loving and tender and that added a nice note of hope to the story. I also loved the unusual characters of Belle and Jaba, unusual in that they are a dog and cat respectively. But, animal or not, they each played their role both in the dark parts of the story and in providing some humor and lightness.
For me the most powerful scene was the final scene. I found myself almost in tears as I turned the pages waiting for the conclusion. I can't say very much more without spoilers, so I will say no more other than that it was a fantastic ending to a wonderful story!
on June 15, 2011
Monster Story is the third book that I have had the pleasure of reading for an honest review by author McCarty Griffin . The book is also the one I left for last because it is a horror suspense and not a book I would normally read... However I stepped out of my little box and accepted the challenge of being shocked, horrified, grossed out and pleasantly entertained as well!
The book has a lot of graphic descriptions that are not for anyone with a squeamish stomach, it also tells a very gripping tale that is full of drama and suspense and at times a sense of fun that even when it is not appropriate lightens up this very dark and raw tale of savage murders by a Monster who has run amok from one end of the county to the next!
I found the writing style of the author easy to follow with this tale, there are just enough characters in the book to make it interesting without being overwhelming and the countryfied hillbilly atmosphere added a sense of familiarity as I am from a small town and it was quite a bit like where the story takes place... Lots of hunters and running coons with hound dogs where I grew up so it was something that resonated with my memories and made this a more believable story...
I have to say that mixing horror and humor may seem a little off, it worked with this book... The wonderful give and take between Christy and her best friend Graeme were my favorite scenes in the book... The scene with Christy's cat Jaba and the bluetick hound Belle were also a nice way to break up the dark atmosphere that permeates the entire story.
All in all I enjoyed learning what and who the monster was and how the plot played out to the ending, even though at times I was both repelled and fascinated it was a good read for a change of pace...
For people who enjoy the Sci-Fi Channel and old movies with a lot of pulse pounding build up to the action this one will be a perfect sit down at night and prepare to be scared reading experience... It is not something for everyone but believe me if you do get the chance to get a copy you will find yourself engrossed until the book ends!
I have to disclose that this book was an e-arc copy submitted to me by the author for an honest review and that there is no other compensation from her or the publisher except my reading pleasure and enjoyment of the characters depicted in the story.
More reads to enjoy by the author:
on June 13, 2011
I was so psyched to read this book because I can't tell you how long it's been since I've read a thriller. It's been too long, but luckily this book came along to scare the crap out of me. In it we meet Christy, who moves back to West Virginia after inheriting her grandmother's cabin. At first there are some reports of wild animal attacks which set her and the rest of the town on edge. Then it becomes clear that no animal could rip a person limb from limb. In order to stop the killings, Christy and her close friends have to first admit that maybe the stuff of nightmares isn't legend after all.
I really enjoyed the characters in this one. Christy was tough, even when she was scared she stood her ground and refused to just run away from the problem. I think most people would just choose to leave West Virginia and never look back but she knew that someone had to stop the creature and the law enforcement wasn't likely to believe that a mythical creature was behind the massacres. I think my absolute favorite person in the book was Christy's friend Graeme, a flamboyant city boy who decides to help Christy move to West Virginia and stay for a couple of weeks to keep her company. Some of the things that came out of his mouth literally made me laugh out loud, especially some of the banter between him and Christy. He's definitely someone I would want to be friends with and he showed himself to be a loyal friend by sticking by Christy's side even though he was scared out of his mind. The rest of the "hunting party" consisted of Christy's father, her good friends Tess and David (who also happens to be a Deputy Sheriff), and Will, a conservation officer. They were all were very strong supporting characters and added some different dimensions to the story, as it was told by several different characters' points of view throughout.
This book is certainly not for the faint of heart. There were several times while I was reading that I got chills all over and had to get up to check and make sure the doors were all locked. It's been awhile since I've been affected in that way by a book and I have to say I enjoyed it. The death scenes were extremely bloody and gory, so descriptive I could easily picture the scenes in my mind which made it every more horrifying. The thing I really loved about this book is it was genuinely scare; none of those cutesy, nice supernatural creatures anywhere to be seen. Not that I don't enjoy those kinds of books too, but it was a nice change of pace to read about a terrifying, bloodthirsty killer.
The romance between Christy and Will definitely isn't a focal point of the book, but it's a nice little touch thrown in. Although for my taste they fell for each other pretty quick considering they hardly knew each other. Then again, under those kinds of circumstances it might make you re-evaluate your life and figure life is too short to take it slow.
I really enjoyed reading this book, with it's mysterious, brutal killer and heart-pounding, terrifying scenes of death. I enjoyed getting goosebumps while reading, knowing that the book could affect me in that way. It gave me the creeps and if you like a good scary story then you should definitely check this book out!