The Monster is an e-book assumed published, copyright and written by Josh Soule.
The story opens at Chapter Zero with the protagonist reminiscing about life as it was in his earlier years and finally about the bedtime stories his parents told him. Especially he remembered his mother always telling of monsters, how they were real and among us today and that “Once in every generation, a monster awakens.” Then suddenly, he must breathe deeply to slow his heart rate, check himself to determine that he had no wounds and that the blood on his hands was not his. The room was a mess looking “like a warehouse in a low-budget horror movie” with a woman’s body on the floor leaking blood. He wondered if it was Debbie or just some unfortunate woman because “it was not unreasonable to think that an innocent person had died here, the world can be unpredictable and unfair like that sometimes”. Then chapter one begins with the twenty-two year old protagonist in a college class and gradual introductions to his close friend Tony, his ex-girlfriend Kelly and later his mother Susan who is a friend of Kelly’s mother Karen. We learn that Susan is undergoing therapy for a relatively recently discovered cancer lesion that had been caught early and responding well to the therapy. However she constantly picks fights and continues her pattern of poor treatment of him that has included quite intense verbal and physical abuse since his father left when the boy was twelve. The reader then is introduced to activity at the school and the school’s Halloween party where we meet Police Officer Erickson because of violence occurring from involvement of a shadowy figure that only our protagonist sees. The results make him appear to be the guilty person for the altercation, so he runs, meets and joins a group of misfits and criminals and the story escalates still without providing an indication of where the tale is going and how it will end. Regrettably, any further information would be a distinct disservice to interested readers.
Discussion: This is a very well-, and intriguingly-written psychological thriller following the activity of a mentally disturbed individual exhibiting much of the background for, and many symptoms of, dissociative identity disorder. The only disappointing features of the story from this reader’s perspective are the protagonist’s level of maturity which seems more that of a teen-age high schooler rather than that of a 22-year-old university student (which possibly can be at least partially excused as resulting from reaction stemming from the degree of abuse) and a seeming amount of unnecessary redundancy.
4* 5* Compellingly written psychological thriller; -1 for reasons described.