In honor of April Fools day, the selection for this month’s book review was inspired by the literary genre most befitting of the celebration of pranksters: Comedy. I’m not someone who laughs easily, so when it came time to try and find a comedy themed book, I went back to an author that had me chuckling last time I read him: A. Lee Martinez.
After a pleasant experience with The Automatic Detective, I was looking forward to reading something else written by Martinez. While looking at a list of his works, one stood out as it sounded a lot like the project I am working on; a story about an inhuman individual who hunts monsters. This immediately got my interest, which explains why I chose Monster.
This story takes place in a contemporary setting, but in this reality, magic and mystical creatures exist. However, these elements remain imperceptible to most of the general populace, and those who do see them, forget any encounters with the supernatural shortly after. The story focuses on a man named Monster, a Cryptobiological control service agent and Judy, a store clerc. Their adventure begins after crossing paths during a yeti attack in the store Judy works at. They keep running into each other during other crypto attacks, which begins to raise suspicion after the number of encounters defies all logical odds. The mystery leads to further twists and turns, when they realise that the appearance of a third party is responsible the rise in the monster population.
The book can be found at:
Back of the Book:
Meet Monster. Meet Judy. Two humans who don't like each other much, but together must fight dragons, fire-breathing felines, trolls, Inuit walrus dogs, and a crazy cat lady - for the future of the universe.
Monster runs a pest control agency. He's overworked and has domestic troubles - like having the girlfriend from hell.
Judy works the night shift at the local Food Plus Mart. Not the most glamorous life, but Judy is happy. No one bothers her and if she has to spell things out for the night-manager every now and again, so be it.
But when Judy finds a Yeti in the freezer aisle eating all the Rocky Road, her life collides with Monster's in a rather alarming fashion. Because Monster doesn't catch raccoons; he catches the things that go bump in the night. Things like ogres, trolls, and dragons.
Oh, and his girlfriend from Hell? She actually is from Hell.
What I learned:
- Character contrast: Having a distinctive cast of characters is important. Different personalities help advance the story by telling it from different perspectives. For example, in this story we see the characters of Monster and his sidekick Chester play well against each other, as the first is aloof and ill-mannered, and the other is polite and professional. However, when you take a look at Monster and Judy, the two are so similar to a point that it makes the story slow down or feel stagnant in sections where they interact. This contrast helps underline the importance of variety in characters
- Making it funny: Martinez proves to be successful at implementing comedy in his works of fiction. Though Martinez says he sees himself as more of a fantasy writer than a comedy writer, his witty style and humorous visualizations make for an enjoyable read.
- Playing with the source material: In an interview found in the back of the book, Martinez admits one of the bonuses of writing fiction with elements such as magic and mystical creatures, is that it saves on research. Creatures like Yeti’s or Griffon’s don’t exist, so a writer is free to use, interpret and/or alter them in anyway they see fit.
A. Lee Martinez is an American fantasy and science fiction author who was born in El Paso, Texas on January 12, 1973. He has written several published fantasy novels, which have been translated into five languages.
For those interested in reading more books from A. Lee Martinez, please check out his website and wiki description, where you can find a complete listing of his published works and all other pertinent information:
In closing, I would like to thank my wife Linda and our family and friends for the tremendous amount of encouragement they have shown me since the beginning. And a special mention to my good friend John for introducing me to this great author.
Until next time!