Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Club Monstrosity and Monsters in Your Neighborhood by Jesse Petersen

Every week Natalie, Alec, Kai, Drake, Linda, Ellis, Henry, Edward, and Bob get together in the Holy Heart Church basement for their support group meeting with Monstofelldosis Anonymous. They all share a difficult and taxing problem - they're monsters. Natalie is one of Frankenstein's creations, Alec is a werewolf, Kai a mummy, Drake is actually Dracula, Linda is a swamp dweller, Ellis the invisible man, Henry and Edward are the two parts of Dr, Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and Bob is the blob. All of them have been trying to live normal lives in the human world for ages and the group helps them to do that. Their latest meeting starts a bit strangely with Bob, their fearless leader, and Ellis both missing. At least they think Ellis is missing. No one can be quite sure sometimes. Their fears are realized when Natalie, who works as an assistant at the morgue, discovers that Ellis has been murdered - in the same fashion as his story. When Bob is discovered shortly thereafter, locked in a freezer and very much dead, the monsters all realize that someone is out to get them!

The Monsters in Your Neighborhood picks up about six months later with the monsters having regrouped and now readying to go head to head with the Van Helsings. They've got a couple of new members in Rehu, another mummy, and Pat, a Cthulu who lives in the sewers. But since the events of six months ago, none of them are safe. The Van Helsings have dissolved the brief but tenuous truce that once existed between them and it seems an actual monster attack has recently been caught on tape and gone viral. With their anonymity threatened and a family of historic monster hunters gunning for them, you could say they're all at their wits end.

Jesse Petersen, author of the Living with the Dead books, is back with this latest from Pocket's new e imprint. Club Monstrosity  and The Monsters in Your Neighborhood, with their ensemble cast of literary monsters, are like a snarky younger sibling of the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. They're fun and funny, altogether quick and amusing reads that hit the spot for me this week. I actually read right through both books in about a day's worth of reading time.

Petersen has a charming and sarcastic style that I find impossible to resist. It's what drew me in her previous series and these books as well. Pop culture references and the character casting complete with witty banter (and the aforementioned snark) are undeniably and welcomingly reminiscent of Buffy sans a slayer (or, in this case, with the slayer being the enemy).

Ratings: 4/5

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