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Monster: A Novel of Frankenstein Hardcover – August 2, 2012
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"Repudiating the 'outrageous fabrication' of Victor Frankenstein's story as told by Mary Shelley is the aim of this imaginative and grotesque novel from the revisionist perspective of the monster . . . Zeltserman's monster is every bit as eloquent as Shelley's, though his rage is more focused.This is juicy material for Franken-fans, and Zeltserman is just faithful enough to the original that his many fresh contributions feel entirely normal. Well, abnormal, to be accurate, but deliciously so." -Daniel Kraus, Booklist (*Starred Review*)
"This reworking of Frankenstein is chilling and captivating! A tale of justice, true love, and ultimate forgiveness, this gruesome novel is perfect for fans of Stephen King and similar horror stories." -ForeWord Magazine (*Pick of the Week*)
"A graphic, brutal story with heart and soul" - Crimespree Magazine
"A masterpiece of originality, beauty, ugliness, eloquence, wisdom and power" -Ed Gorman, author of Ticket to Ride
"When award season rolls around, this one's going to be a major contender" -Bill Crider, author of the Sheriff Dan Rhodes mystery series
"Brilliant reimagining of Frankenstein: faithful enough to delight lovers of Mary Shelley's masterpiece, but wonderfully inventive as it takes the monster on a bloody quest for vengeance" -Roger Smith, author of Wake Up Dead
"Dave Zeltserman continues to expertly explore the depths of darkness with MONSTER" -Paul Tremblay, author of The Little Sleep
About the Author
Dave Zeltserman is the author of ten horror and crime novels, including Monster, a Booklist Top 10 Horror Fiction selection; The Caretaker of Lorne Field, shortlisted by the American Library Association for best horror novel of 2010; and A Killer’s Essence. He lives in the Boston area.
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While this is not an entirely new concept (THE DRACULA FILES and WICKED both come to mind), Zeltserman does an excellent job with it. His style of prose dovetails well with the original FRANKENSTEIN... and that's is where I begin my critical comments. For me, as with that original novel, this one suffers a little from that style of prose. There is a slightly distancing effect in that 19th Century diary-style narration that kept me from becoming as emotionally involved with the creature. Likewise, a decision to involve some clearly supernatural elements diminished things for me; rather than the Doctor being a horrific example of the coldly detached scientist, as I first expected, his villainy is hot, emotional and yes - sorcerous. Some of the message, warning of the dangers of science without care and morality, are lost.
Despite these small complaints, I very much enjoyed the book as a story and as what I take to be a passionate project of the author's. I applaud the excellent use of the original FRANKENSTEIN material and inspiration. MONSTER is an excellent read from a unique crime writer with a tendency towards the bizarre, indulging a personal passion. Worthwhile!
Then, go read Zeltserman's unmatched THE CARETAKER OF LORNE FIELD, to see him really stretch his horror muscles!
So begins Dave Zeltserman's electrifying novel presenting the classic story of Frankenstein's monster, from the viewpoint of the "monster." The monster in this instance is a man by the name of Friedrich Hoffmann, who, on the eve of his wedding to his beloved Johanna is drugged and when he comes to, in an alleyway, he is covered in blood and has Johanna's locket in his coat. He soon understands that she is dead, murdered in a most heinous way, and he has been blamed for the crime. Broken, tortured, and set to die on the executioner's wheel, Friedrich can only hope that he will be joining his true love soon. Little does he know that a fate worse than death awaits him.
Monster is told from Friedrich's point of view, and as he takes you from the wheel, into death, and back to a sort of unlife as the creation of the wicked, diabolical Dr. Frankenstein, you won't be able to look away, although you may want to. I found myself pausing to cover my eyes for a moment every now and then, not only as I processed the horror that Friedrich is experiencing, but also at the moments of beauty that he manages to find in the midst of this nearly inconceivable ordeal. And there is beauty, in the most unexpected of places. When Friedrich first "awakens" and finds that he cannot move, cannot speak, and can barely keep his eyes open, he is soon introduced to Charlotte, who is only a head, in a bowl of milky liquid. At first, Charlotte repels him, but soon he realizes that she too, is a victim of Dr. Frankenstein's depraved experiments and it is her stories (he lip reads, because she cannot speak), and assurances that he is still a gently and kind soul, in spite of what is surely hideous appearance, that make his days bearable. When Charlotte is taken from him, at the behest of the Marquis de Sade, and he is inexplicably abandoned, he realizes that he must be free, and find the man that made him into this monster.
Eloquently written (like a certain classic that comes to mind), Monster will take you on a journey of death, rebirth, and vengeance, and is about a man trying desperately not to sink to the depths of his tormenter. I fell in love with Hoffman, and his grief, not only at losing Johanna, but at his own condition, is palpable on every page. However, rays of light do shine through the darkness, and kindness comes from some of the most unexpected places. During his journey, he will encounter vampyres, satanic cults, and more, and it will take him to a crumbling castle, where all will be revealed. Or will it? Brace yourself when Friedrich reaches that castle. Frankenstein is a villain that will make your skin crawl, and is the ultimate embodiment of evil. He even outdoes the Marquis, and that says quite a lot. Monster weighs in at just over 200 pages, but manages to pack a huge punch. If you're a fan of Frankenstein and the mythos that surrounds it, and love literary horror, this one's for you. Highly recommended!
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