As an avid reader of Kelley Armstrong, Seanan McGuire, and Charlie Huston, I like to consider myself to be very familiar with the urban monster landscape. I Kill Monsters is the first book I’ve read by this author, and I would label his work as having solid potential. I Kill Monsters isn’t the first of its kind, nor the most original, but it does have its charm.
The book features two brothers Szandor and Mikhail, living on a rougher side of town, who take down the creepy crawlies hiding in the city. They take money as best as they can, but work the daily grind to keep the bills paid (mostly). When a well-to-do client comes along, they jump at the opportunity to play bodyguard for a few days. Unfortunately for them, something much more nefarious than the boogeyman is afoot, and the boys are launched into a part of the monster industry they didn’t even know existed.
Overall, the writing flows well and it is a good, albeit shallow, read. There are times I found myself genuinely laughing, but also times I found myself cringing at some of the bland writing. The main character describes himself to have a “punk” haircut, which I cannot fathom precisely what that may mean. The main character describes at least two women to be “hot”, with little description as to why. There is a fade-to-black sex scene, with little post-coitus followup. I may be spoiled by the many female writers that I read, but if you’re going to include a sex scene, use it. An author friend of mine tells me it’s important to “show, not tell”, and I find this book doing a lot of telling. To give away a mild spoiler, Szandor’s brother uses a nickname that he hates, and that’s how he describes it- as a nickname he hates; with no explanation. Why does he hate that nickname? Was there an embarrassing story involved? An awkward teen obsession? What a wasted opportunity to deepen the character.
One of the things I do enjoy is that neither Szandor nor his brother seem to be the Dark Brooding Type. Not every character in monster-themed books need to carry their burdens in every sentence, and it’s refreshing seeing these guys just going about their lives, having the typical brotherly love that also involves wanting to throttle each other at times.
Despite a few missteps in the writing, I Kill Monsters is a light and easy read, great for anyone on their lunch break or riding on the train. I’ll look forward to reading more of Dennis Liggio’s work.
Overall, I give this read a 4/5 star rating.
Barbie O’Havoc has been considered a nerd since the first time she pissed someone off for having a weird opinion. Since then, she’s been spending her time indulging in the surprisingly expensive habits of reading trashy vampire novels and hitting people while playing roller derby. Both of her main hobbies have led to a love of terrible puns, much to everyone’s dismay.
Barbie O’ also loves coffee and local restaurants, and occasionally rambles about both on the Johnstown Food Blog.
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