Written by: Matt Molgaard
Mutant killing machines. Government conspiracies. A coastal town torn to shreds. Hunter Shea’s forthcoming novel, The Montauk Monster covers every base on the field, although it sure as hell moves at a much more impressive pace than an actual baseball game. Let’s be honest: baseball can be a damn boring sport if you’re not on the field swinging the bat. The Montauk Monster on the other hand is a high speed journey through a hellish reality where science fiction rules the day, and gruesome murder rules the night.
The story (which actually has some factual backing, as there’s been quite the debate as to the actual existence of mutant monsters washing up in Montauk, as crazy as that sounds) deposits readers in the middle of Montauk, New York, where bodies aren’t just popping up, they’re popping up, expanding to grotesque proportions and exploding in a mist crimson, nothing but chunks of gooey carnage left to sort through. Strange animal attacks occur all over town, and the intensity of the bizarre onslaught is growing at an alarming rate. But when local law enforcement finally uncover the culprit, they’ll be forced to juggle the inconceivable. There are real life monsters loose, and they’re fatal come nightfall. Where did they come from? How have they never previously been discovered? And what the hell does the government have to do with this insanity? Hunter lets it all fly, and as horrific as it may be, it’s absolutely glorious.
We’ve long praised Hunter Shea’s work. The man is crafty and infectious with his wielding of words, and a truly refined prose makes stories like this – which should probably read as nothing more than cheap monster schlock – impossible to put down. When it comes to monster fare, there are very few who impress like Hunter Shea. The reason Shea is so successful is because he eliminates the bullshit. He’s not interested in dragging anything out, or spewing empty filler to boost the page count. All Hunter Shea aims to do is entertain the hell out of his fans. The man doesn’t waste a page, especially not in the case of The Montauk Monster.
I’ll admit that I’m always, always a sucker for a quality monster tale. It doesn’t take a lot to satisfy me. It does however take quite a bit, to substantially exceed my expectations. The Montauk Monster substantially exceeds expectations. It’s a novel that I’d love to see transferred to film (there’s a reference to SyFy’s megahit Sharknado, which feels appropriate simply due to the fact that this is a total SyFy network flick, with brains), but the truth of the matter is the monsters themselves are so outlandish, it may be better to let the imagination have a little free time with this one. Sometimes amazing novels that could make for thrilling flicks, just shouldn’t be adapted into thrilling flicks.
We’re entering the fading days of March. The Montauk Monster is scheduled for release this June. I’ve got another novel to add to my potential Best of 2014 list already. It’s certainly the greatest monster tale I’ve read thus far in 2014. I couldn’t be more pleased. Once again, Hunter Shea showcases a unique connection with the mind of the fanatic. He writes for the fans as much as himself. Not the critics. It’s an approach that totally and completely works.