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Liz Loves Books.Com.

Book lover. Stephen King Fanatic. Will try anything once. General Lover of Fiction. Reviewer Everywhere.  All views my own. Mostly.

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Peter Newman
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Monster - Outside or In?

Monster - C.J. Skuse

Monster was a highly entertaining if slightly odd read in a lot of ways - the author I would think read a lot of boarding school stories (as did I) growing up and perhaps decided it was time to add some additional blood and guts and terror to the process...and it worked as well. Who would have thought it?

Monster is a genuinely engaging hybrid of jolly hocky sticks and ginger beer type shenanigans a la Enid Blyton and stalker/monster horror movie a la John Carpenter - a really quite heady mix as well it fairly rocks along. If Enid Blyton had decided to write a scary tale I imagine it might have looked something like "Monster" - that's a thought that will linger.

Anyway, so we are with Tash, who's brother is missing and on top of that has to stay behind at school over the Christmas holidays along with a rag tag bunch of other pupils and one adult. Meanwhile the area is being stalked by a strange beast that nobody can quite describe and she is all starry eyed over the boy from the local shop. Well kind of. She likes him anyway...

Then the snow starts, strange things occur and there they all are. Stuck. I mean what could possibly go wrong?

I love how the author has incorporated all the horror movie tropes in a very ironically clever way - yes really you DON'T need to be wandering the grounds late at night looking for Matron when it's perfectly obvious that this will only lead to disaster - and I do like that Tash actually has a modicum of sense. This allows for some truly edge of the seat moments rather than the reader shaking their head going "Really? You would REALLY do that?" and being taken out of the moment. Luckily the extended cast have quite enough stupidity between them that you don't miss it and the group ensemble works really well within the narrative as they all struggle to survive whilst bitching at each other.

There is a nice little analogy in the title too. There is the possibility of an actual monster of course, but C J Skuse plays with that idea mixing it up with the idea of the Monster inside - the one you don't recognise as such until it's too late. The resolution not being immediately obvious makes this all the more fun to read.

Overall I really enjoyed this - clever and a whole lot of fun. Recommended.

Happy Reading Folks!