Sunday, July 15, 2012

Monster -- Dave Zeltserman

Okay, so what if Victor Frankenstein was lying to Captain Walton to cover up his own perverted crimes and the story that got passed on to Mary Shelley was all wrong? What if Frankenstein, besides being a scientist was heavily into the occult and had supernatural powers over the monster? What if Frankenstein were also in league with the Marquis de Sade, and what if he and the Marquis were planning to create a perverted drama with 200 kidnapped young women? Those are some of the ideas behind Dave Zeltserman's latest novel, in which the monster, whose name is Freidrich, by the way, tells his own version of the story.

And it's a whiz-bang version, indeed. While it pretty much sticks to the same locations as the version we get in Shelley, it's a lot different. We learn that how Freidrich's brain came to be in its strange new body and why he burns to take revenge on Frankenstein. While he's still in the lab, Freidrich "meets" Charlotte, of whom nothing remains but a toothless head (the Marquis de Sade has some ideas for her). When Freidrich escapes, he travels over a lot of Europe and meets up with vampires, Satanists (who think he's what they've been waiting for), and even a few good people. Even at that, his relationships never end well, though no fault of his own.

Zeltserman got a lot of acclaim for his horror novel The Caretaker of Lorne Field. Monster is a very different kind of book, but it's just as exciting. When awards season rolls around, this one's going to be a major contender.

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