Sean Doolittle unleashes a golem on unsuspecting readers, and it won’t stop coming until they close the book. A rollicking ride featuring a culturally sensitively represented murder machine, Kill Monster feels like a Koontz novel in a good way. It doesn’t all work — the love story is shoehorned in, to be generous— but this is the best team building exercise a group of office workers could ask for.
An ARC of Kill Monster was provided for review by Severn House Publishers.
I can honestly say the writer is great with creating characters that enter twine well with each other as well as keeping the interest of the reader. The story starts out with a prologue that gives just enough information yet not too much that would cause the reader to become bored with the book. It is rather a slow pace at first but once it gets going you need to hold on because the writer takes you on a ride that you will not expect. Ben Middleton is a burned out IT worker who has absolutely no idea what he in store for. A group of excavators excavate a long lost wreck an unearth something that is not human. Something created to kill a slave trader in 1856. The slave trader is long been dead so now the inhuman creature will hunt down his next of kin. You guessed it, Ben. This book may seem like nonsense paranormal stuff but let me tell you that it may be of the paranormal realm but it scared me. I do not scare easily. I could not put this book down and only when I realized I had a few chapters left did I decide that I needed sleep, unfortunately. I woke ready to finish it and the ending blew me away. If scary is what you are looking for, this is the book you want to read.
Thank you to netgalley as well as the author/publisher for allowing me to read this book in exchange for my honest review.
Honestly? A pretty fun ride.
First of all, the book used one of horror's golden rules to its fullest, which was "don't overexpose the monster" The golem isn't in many scenes, and that makes its actual appearances all the more effective.
There isn't really a lot of horror, and that was something I was disappointed by. I was expecting a very creepy read (I mean, look, the title is KILL MONSTER, kind of a hardcore combo, fitting for a death metal band's album title), and I can't say I was disappointed, per se, but I kind of was. It was a lot milder than I expected.
The writing was decent, nothing to write home about (the best scene was probably the climax of the story), and the characters are also decently developed, there was nothing spectacular about them and I wasn't incredibly attached to any of them (maybe Frankie, a little bit?). The main problem I had was that I'm ALREADY (and I only finished the book yesterday) forgetting it. I don't think I'll be able to remember much of it other than "killer golem on the loose" soon enough, and that's why it only gets 3 stars, otherwise hitting the "The Limbo state", from me. I was neither impressed nor unimpressed with it.
Loved this book. Plenty of devious surprises and crackling suspense, along with interesting characters. Just the sort of book to cause a lack of sleep, but I won't complain! Highly recommended.
*This book was provided to me as an ARC at no charge in exchange for my honest review. My thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley for allowing me the opportunity to participate in this program.*
Have read and really enjoyed Doolittles crime novels, with their heavy Leonard influence I was extremely excited to read his take on a horror novel. I’m slightly disappointed that I didn’t get a horror novel, but instead I got an action novel with some horror tropes. Even then the most horror trope I got, the golem itself, barely appears in the book.
Now, that I know I’m not reading a horror novel, I really did enjoy this book. It travels along at a steady clip, the characters that you’re supposed to like, you do. It’s not going to win any awards, but the writing is solid as per Doolittle’s usual.
For fans of fast paced action, or fast paced monster novels. B+
I am a member of the American Library Association Reading List Award Committee. This title was suggested for the 2020 list. It was not nominated for the award. The complete list of winners and shortlisted titles is at <a href="https://rusaupdate.org/2020/01/2020-reading-list-years-best-in-genre-fiction-for-adult-readers/">
Fab read, brings the fantasy world into the real world brilliantly and makes it sort of believable. The plot was well thought out and well written. It was a tense story with elements added as a thriller read. I loved the ending of this book and was so happy that it worked out for all the characters. Due to the well written and great plot I will look for this author again
DNF really not nearly close to what I expected from Doolittle. If you are a hardcore Sci-fi fan maybe you’ll enjoy. It’s tough to get a book from Sean, I hope he returns to crime fiction soon.
Wow! I really liked this book a lot. This was such a fun read that my only disappointment is that it ended.
Starting out in the 1800’s for the Prologue, Doolittle gives us some background information that is interesting but kind of drags until the first chapter where we are introduced to our cast of characters. This is where the novel goes from first gear right into fifth without a moment of hesitation. Once the story is off and running, the prologue makes perfect sense and is very much needed to help round the novel winningly.
The characters are great and their personalities stand out with a large cast that keeps the reader entertained. They are caught up in an extraordinary situation and with their fun humanistic approach makes you glad that you are along for the ride. Ben and Abe are very well balanced and with the help of the IT gang we are headed for a joyride. Even the lesser characters which come across as secondary characters are given a chance to shine and take the foreground.
The plot is well established and well worked out. The page turner keeps going and going until its exciting conclusion. The set pieces are well handled and although there seems to be a couple of strings left hanging, one starts to wonder if this is the first of a series which is very possible.
The legend and folklore about the Golem is very well handled and mixing reality with folklore and history is a splendid mix that works extremely well. Doolittle adds details to the folklore that does not seem out of place and works very well in this world.
Overall, this is a fun book that I really enjoyed and would like to enter this world again or even more works from Doolittle as he has a keen eye for exciting thrillers. Human interactions and relations are realistic and help drive the story. Great monster novel with great characters and plot makes this a fun and exciting read. Well worth the time.
Unrelenting pursuit of its prey
A buried steamboat from 1856 is unearthed from a cornfield in Kansas. Among the artifacts found is a sealed crate filled with what seems to be mud and clay.
But this innocuous box of earth animates into a monster - a golem - in mindless pursuit to wipe out the survivors of a lineage instilled into it when it was created.
I love horror books but golems have never been a favorite of mine. I will say this is my favorite golem story to date.
I liked the characters, especially the IT team and the author broadened this story out with some very creepy bad guys who want control of the golem themselves.
This was a quick, fun read and I could see it being made into a Grade B monster flick
I received this book from Severn House through Net Galley in the hopes that I would read it and leave an unbiased review.
This book should have been right up my alley. I love horror, mythology, and a good monster story. But sadly, I simply cannot connect to the characters.
I’ve been struggling to read this off and on for weeks, but at the 65% mark, I just don’t care enough about any of the characters to find out how their story ends. This isn’t a slight against the author who clearly can write. It’s just that this particular book isn’t doing it for me.
Part of the problem is that this feels way more like an action/adventure story with a bit of horror tossed in rather than the other way around. The golem is a menace that destroys everything in its path, but it’s not actually tense, intimidating, or scary to read about it.
Again, your mileage may vary. If you like this author and stories about golems, by all means, give this one a try. It might be much more for you than it is for me.
Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for providing an ARC. This review contains my honest, unbiased opinion.
An updated take on the Golem folklore tale set in current day America. The author mixes horror with thriller seamlessly and introduces a cast of quirky, humorous characters along the way. A fun read with just enough scares to keep horror fans happy.
“A silent, soulless thing.”
I’ve started to try and find a nice quote to begin my reviews, something that sticks out for me at the start of each book. This one’s a bit odd, because the quote sums up my feelings pretty well for what I read.
Kill Monster, at least in my opinion, could have been sooooo much more.
At the basic levels of this book, the story follows a Ben, a man who doesn’t know he’s about to be hunted by a silent, soulless monster. A monster that has only one singular purpose – to get too Ben and kill him.
Along the way we get introduced to other characters and as I got further into the book, I started to see a few things well in advance. I also found that, while the prologue made the book appear to be a creature-feature horror tale, the book landed closer into the Urban Fantasy genre and this really started to irk me. I’ve not read much Urban Fantasy – Alan Baxter’s Devouring Dark was outstanding, JZ Foster’s Mind Wreck and the first Witch Hunter were awesome, but for the most part I’ve struggled to get into the genre because the other UF that I’ve read hasn’t been enjoyable to me because of a few things; characters I didn’t really care for or can’t find a connection with, and common genre trope failings. Both for me here occurred frequently.
I kind of alluded to it previously but as things unravel, none of it came as a surprise to me or was shocking. Sadly, it all felt like a big case of ‘ho-hum, read it before.’
Because of this – the resolution itself had no pay off for me and that was a bummer.
Overall, I think this book will really appeal to a lot of folks, but as for my tastes, it just lacked any flavour.
Thanks to Netgalley, the author and publisher for sending me this. At this point I'm not going to leave a star rating on Goodreads out of fairness to the product and the fact that I'm struggling with what star I'd ultimately end up giving it. This isn't a one star book for me, but I consciously can't give it a 2 or a 3. For Netgalley purposes I'll give this a 3.
Kill Monster is a great thriller of a read! Both suspenseful, engrossing, and scary! The ideal beach read
Kill Monster by Sean Doolittle was received direct from the publisher. I had never read this author before and with this novel I will search him out more. It is not very often that a horror author attacks the golem type creatures and I would wager most readers are unaware of what I am referring to without a little research. The book has a lot of dialogue that caused me to skim, costing it a star, though some people like the “character development,” I am describing. If you, or someone you buy gifts for likes the type of horror story I described, with a little gore, then give this one a read.
This was my first Sean Doolittle book but I can promise you, it won't be my last. Kill Monster basically had everything I value in an exceptional novel: an original premise, realistically flawed but likable characters, snappy dialogue, a brisk pace, clever plot twists and just enough detail to add depth without bogging the story down. Doolittle does an exceptional job of portraying normal people (and a few not-so-normal people) who are thrust into extraordinary situations and forced to figure out what to do on the fly, just to stay alive. The writing is exceptional and brutally honest. I can't recommend highly enough.
Kill Monster stood out for me due to its ingenious concept, which is effectively a “reverse-Terminator”, in that it features a seemingly invincible assassin in a determined hunt for his prey. Unlike Terminator however, Kill Monster’s antagonist is from the past who has awoken in the future, unrelenting in his mission to exterminate the descendants of his original target. Sean Doolittle strikes gold with this subversion of the genre, and the opening of the novel sets up the threat of the Golem perfectly – transitioning from the slave traders of the nineteenth century to a mid-mannered IT technician. Despite the blockbuster nature of the plot, Doolittle never skimps on the character development and humanity of his lead characters, who feel rooted to reality even when things become increasingly more fantastical for them.
At the risk of overusing the comparisons to Terminator, the novel feels similarly paced to Terminator 2: Judgment Day, as the opening third deals with the introduction and initial encounter with the unstoppable Golem, before it diverts for a series of chapters before returning to the main threat in the action-packed finale. Personally, I would have preferred that the Golem was a presence throughout the entire book, but given the way Doolittle builds it up as a force of nature killing its way through Midwestern America, it is not logical to have it consistently nipping at Middleton’s heels. Even when the Golem isn’t directly involved in the story, Doolittle provides us with snippets of the chaos it is unleashing upon the locals and the collateral damage accrued against Ben and Charley’s survival. In fact, the novel asks the pertinent question as to whether their two lives are worth more than the countless others lost and whether they should have just given up – a question that could be posed to a great number of blockbuster movies.
Doolittle makes up for the Golem’s occasional absence by introducing a secondary antagonist into the novel by the name of Malcom Frost, an aged burn-victim who has nefarious plans for our heroes and the kill monster itself. Frost exudes a real sense of menace from the minute he appears in the novel, and Doolittle could easily write a spin-off novel on the character. In fact, the novel itself merely peeks at the supernatural potential in this world he has created, leaving plenty of storytelling potential to be mined. There is a scene early on in the book with Frost that is so horrific that it instantly had me hooked, and demonstrated the detached insanity of the character. Let’s put it this way, I certainly wouldn’t be inviting him over for dinner at my place…
Tonally, Kill Monster leans more towards action-thriller than horror, although there are some extremely graphic sequences in the book – particularly in the aftermath of the Golem attacks. Doolittle writes with a cinematic flair, and I could definitely see this book adapted as a low-budget Netflix movie. The novel has the pace of a Dan Brown book at times, particularly in the early stages, with plenty of cliff-hangers designed to get you to read just one more chapter. There were also lots of surprise twists and turns, which added more context to the world in which Ben and Charley had found themselves in. Doolittle’s prose rattles along at a fine speed, yet never feels rushed. Characters are given time to react and respond to the chaos around them, and the action set-pieces are spaced apart to give the novel the motion of a roller-coaster, continually ramping up excitement.
Kill Monster is a book that does its fantastic “elevator pitch” justice, delivering a surprisingly character-driven narrative alongside the thrilling action that one would expect from the genre. Doolittle writes with a charming sense of humour that allows readers to naturally identify with the characters (I mean, who hasn’t accidentally let out a fart next to the office printer?) and ensures the novel is immensely readable. Filled with a great cast of characters, who he isn’t afraid to do nasty things to, I was surprised at how much I actually engaged with them all and wanted them to have happy endings. Overall, Kill Monster was a fantastic read that had me gripped from the outset and never failed to entertain. Its delicate mix of humour, action and horror worked perfectly together and I would love to read more from Sean Doolittle in the future. If you’re a fan of the Terminator series (just the original two, obviously), or love the idea of an unstoppable Golem rampaging its way through Midwestern America, then you definitely should give Kill Monster a read.
When well-intentioned abolitionists decided to dabble in a little dark magic to create a Monster to take down a pro-slavery mad man, they didn't realise the magnitude of the horror they were about to unleash on the world.
In 1856 the steamboat, Arcadia sank taking with it a crate marked, "Books".
150 years later, treasure hunters are excited to make the discovery of the Arcadia's cargo until the open the Books crate and let loose the Golem - an unstoppable mud creature vaguely resembling man. The Golem has a mission to complete and he is determined to do it even if the initial target is dead.
What follows is a thrilling, dark, and at times witty tale of the descendants of Ben Middleton and how they escape with their lives...or do they?
Kill Monster is a fantastic engrossing thriller/horror/science fiction book. This book is fast paced and well written.
The steamship Arcadia sinks to the bottom of the Missouri River, taking with it a crate that contains something uniquely deadly, intended to stop a madman preying upon abolitionists in the Kansas Territory.
Amateur treasure hunters unearth the long lost Arcadia and it's cargo....opening a crate marked 'Books' that unleashes a sleeping weapon....one whose original target is dead and gone.
But that target's bloodline has survived....until now.
A fast paced creature feature that blends historic fact, folklore, and a touch of the X-Files into an entertaining horror novel.
Doolittle's talent for thriller writing amps up the tension levels and gives the novel a great sense of momentum...the kind with no brakes.