Is there room in the Para/Crypto/Fortean world for a gun-toting, paranoid, bipolar, opinionated bastard? A lonely romantic in search of his lost soul? A knight, Samurai, gunslinger, born in the wrong century? A self-destructive, doom-driven survivor seeking redemption? A heavy drinking gonzo outlaw cryptozoologist whose ego is exceeded only by his libido?
No, there isn't. That's why I'm here...

31 December 2009

Book Review: Monster Hunter International

"Truth is stranger than fiction. It has to be, because fiction has to make sense."
I read that line many years ago in "Cracked" magazine, and it pretty much summarizes how I feel regarding my choices in reading material.
When it comes to monsters, cryptids, and general "high strangeness", I rarely read fiction. I'm one of the very few former D&D nerds who've never read Tolkein or even Lewis. There's just way too much nonfiction and folklore that I'd rather read, so I admit I'm waaaayyy late to the party when it comes to this particular book. All I can say is that it's my loss!
Monster Hunter International, by Larry Correia, is a real rollercoaster ride of an adventure. Here's the basic summary:
Five days after Owen Zastava Pitt pushed his insufferable boss out of a fourteenth story window, he woke up in the hospital with a scarred face, an unbelievable memory, and a job offer.
It turns out that monsters are real. All the things from myth, legend, and B-movies are out there, waiting in the shadows. Officially secret, some of them are evil, and some are just hungry. On the other side are the people who kill monsters for a living. Monster Hunter International is the premier eradication company in the business. And now Owen is their newest recruit.

It’s actually a pretty sweet gig, except for one little problem. An ancient entity known as the Cursed One has returned to settle a centuries old vendetta. Should the Cursed One succeed, it means the end of the world, and MHI is the only thing standing in his way. With the clock ticking towards Armageddon, Owen finds himself trapped between legions of undead minions, belligerent federal agents, a cryptic ghost who has taken up residence inside his head, and the cursed family of the woman he loves.

Business is good . . .

Welcome to Monster Hunter International.

About the Author
Larry Correia is hopelessly addicted to two things: guns and B-horror movies. He lists his occupations: gun dealer, firearms instructor, accountant, and writer, and is part owner of FBMG (Fuzzy Bunny Movie Guns) a company specializing in firearms and movie props. He shoots competitively and is a certified concealed weapons instructor. Larry resides in Utah with his very patient wife and family. He has also designed a special patch for the agents of Monster Hunter International, Inc. As he puts it, “If you don’t look good while you’re killing stuff, then you’re not really a monster hunter.”

I debated with myself (which means right or wrong, I win anyway!) about just how to handle this review. There are a lot of things I feel merit mention. I thought about breaking it up into shorter posts, but I figure, heck, you're adults, if you get tired of readint the whole thing you can just read more later. If you read no farther, I'll say this: Read the damn book! It's great! No, it's no monumental work of literature, but it's well worth reading. I'll even pay it my highest compliment and read it multiple times!

The Author

As stated above, Larry Correia is (or was) co-owner of Fuzzy Bunny Movie Guns (FBMG). This comany sells guns and accessories. They were the FIRST U.S. company to produce and sell 10-round magazines for the Saiga 12ga shotguns. I got in on the introductory offer and bought 11 of 'em. Larry is a regular poster on the Saiga Forums and other gun boards. It's funny that while reading the book, I realized that not only did I "know" him, but he seems to know me!

The Guns

Since the book is about armed Monster Hunters, firearms play a big role. Larry does a great job of accurately depicting and describing the various guns used throughout the book, without becoming overly technical and boring the "non-gun person".
If you've read some of my earlier posts, I've often sung the praises of the Saiga-12, the Marlin 45-70 levergun, .44 magnums, Glocks, 1911s, and big bore guns in general. Imagine my delight when I found these very guns (most of which I own)mentioned in the book and my own opinions echoed by the author.
Weird? Keep reading...

The Location
In the book, the MHI headquarters, and indeed most of the action, is located in Alabama. If you're a regular reader, you'll know that I'm born, raised, and live in AL.
A major plot point takes place in Gulf Shores, an Alabama town on the Gulf Coast. That also happens to be my family's favorite vacation spot. Almost a home away from home.
(Now this is a real kicker!) MHI maintains a psychiatric care facility devoted to monster hunters and victims of monster attacks. The name of the facility is the "Appleton Asylum".
"Appleton", dear readers, is MY surname!

There is a sequel to this book scheduled to be released next year. (or more like THIS year, since it's New Year's Eve as I type this!) I personally can't wait for it's release.
If you Google "Monster Hunter International" or "Larry Correia", you'll find more about the author and the book. In fact, Larry started out as a blogger, posted parts of the book online, finally took the plunge and self-published it, and eventually it was picked up by a publisher.
Way to go!

The author had a limited number of "MHI" patches made up to accompany sales of his first edition. I've been unable to find one thus far.
If anyone can find me one, or help me find one, you'll have my eternal gratitude!


Autumnforest said...

Wow! That sounds really good. Great find! I have to admit I read nonfiction about the paranormal and try to avoid fiction at all costs because I don't want my writing style to be affected by other horror writers and I don't want to know what they're writing because that also might affect my themes. I want to remain fresh in a jaded market. So, I read romance novels instead. Sounds weird, but it makes me a better horror writer without being influenced by plots and themes in the horror genre. This book sounds like a great one--are you sure you didn't write it? I could see you doing that!

Above the Norm said...

Great review Gummer...
Have a great new year and looking forward to more fascinating posts by you.

Jeff said...

How synchronistic!

Gummerfan said...

In the interest of Full Disclosure, hero (Owen) staes that he can benchpress 400 pounds.
I...uhhh...can't do that.
Wish I could take credit for it, but nope, I didn't write it.
It does have me toying with idea of maybe doing a seperate blog with some fictional monsterhunting stories. but it's hard enough finding time to keep this one up.
My problem with monster/crypto-fiction is that with the internet and all, I'm sure some fictional stories will (or maybe already have) find their way to legitimate boards and forums as "credible reports" and further muddy the waters of cryptozoological research.