Review: Monsters by Paul Kane – Rob Ridenour

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To a new world of gods and monsters!

To put it simply I’ve always loved monsters. From the first time I saw Boris Karloff in the 1931 classic Universal Studios monster-fest Frankenstein I was hooked and my obsession only grew from there. If anything was related to monsters I had to have it. Godzilla, King Kong, Dracula, The Mummy, The Creature from the Black Lagoon, and Frankenstein (my personal favorite) all became my heroes. Even my own personal dreams would be taken over by them. Some nights I’d be chased by the Wolfman through the woods under a bright full moon or I was marrying The Bride of Frankenstein. Strangely enough I was never afraid though and quite frankly enjoyed having these types of dreams.

This brings me to writer Paul Kane’s wonderful short story collection Monsters which I connected with immediately as soon I saw the cover art which was done by none other than Clive Barker himself. It’s obvious from the first story Paul has a wonderful grasp of the monster genre and knows his shit when it comes to telling a good story. There’s not a tale in this collection that I didn’t like, and I’m not just saying that to plug Paul’s book. This relit my love for monsters in a big way and it also took me back to my childhood when I first started falling in love with this stuff. It also inspired me to pull out my Universal Monster Legacy Bluray Collection and I’ve been watching that non-stop the past few days.

The most important thing a writer can do for the characters in his stories is to have the reader relate to them, whether it’s the humans or the monsters. Paul Kane pulls this off brilliantly in every story. Sure some of the monsters in these stories are evil incarnate but they aren’t mindless killing machines, they do have a purpose in everything that they do regardless if we find their actions are incomprehensible. He also brings up the moral issues of being a monster, both human and supernatural. The responsibility of being a monster is also covered. It was nice to be able to think and feel after reading these stories. It was a pleasant surprise that he went so deep with them instead just telling a good scary yarn.

The stories that I enjoyed most out of the collection varied in tone but that’s the reason I loved them so much. A Chaos Demon is for Life was probably the sweetest demon story that I’ve ever read. It made me want to play with my pets after reading it. Keeper of Light was probably the scariest and most disturbing of the bunch. The main character from this story Harry Ingle is a new fictional hero of mine. The funniest story was Speaking in Tongues. This story was obviously a nod to Clive Barker’s The Body Politic. The story I found myself relating to though the most was Dig (This). It made me think of reading the old EC Comics when I was a kid and remembering the times when I was a teenager getting in trouble with my friends and doing stupid things and hanging around places we knew we shouldn’t have. Of course Paul puts a nice supernatural twist on this one that I really enjoyed. I didn’t see it coming.

Paul Kane’s Monsters promises exactly what the title says. If you love monsters then you’ll love this book. You get zombies, werewolves, vampires, demons, possessed tongues and so much more. This book is a winner and it will definitely make my best of 2015 list at the end of year.

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