New horror novel gets two monster thumbs up

Owen Pitt’s life was the very definition of boredom.

That changed one Tuesday night when his boss suddenly changed into a werewolf and tried to eat him.

Five days later, Owen woke up and learned the insane truth: All of the monsters from late-night B-grade horror movies were real and there is good money to be made hunting them down.

“Monster Hunter International” is the first novel from author Larry Correia. It is a spectacular book. Correia seamlessly weaves plenty of action, horror, comedy and even a little romance into an engrossing, even addicting, page-turner that leaves readers unable to put it down until they finish reading.

Monster Hunter International is the world’s premier Hunting organization, and it asks Owen to be its newest recruit. Owen soon finds himself thrust into a plot to unleash an ancient, devastating evil on the world, simultaneously trying to cope with bloodthirsty vampires, vengeful government agents and a strange old man who seems to have taken up residence inside his head.

One of the things that really shines about the book is its plot. Correia has created a rich, original story filled with enough surprises and twists to keep the reader on the edge of his seat. Granted, there are a few old clichés and worn plot devices, but these are pretty much unavoidable in the horror genre, and Correia makes sure they are few and far between.

Correia also takes a few stereotypical fantasy creatures and completely turns them on their heads. Orcs, for example, are friendly to humans and thoroughly addicted to heavy metal. Elves also make an appearance, but Correia’s re-imagining of them is too good to spoil here.

The characters are also a refreshing break from the horror genre norms.

Trip Jones, for example, is a young African American male with long dreadlocks. Normally, you would expect him to be either a star athlete or a delinquent. Instead, he’s a shy former schoolteacher and fantasy-book addict.

Holly Newcastle, a member of Owen’s team, is a blond-haired, blue-eyed ex-stripper. Surprisingly, she’s smart as a whip and hated her old job–she only danced to help pay for medical school.

Even Owen is not the typical horror hook hero. He’s a big, stocky guy with a hideous scar across his face, he can’t talk to girls and he can be an oaf at times.

Though “Monster Hunter Vendetta” is dominated primarily by action and suspense, Correia also added a healthy dose of humor into the story. Readers will find themselves chuckling throughout the entire book, and some parts will leave them in stitches.

For readers who complete the book and find themselves desperate for more, the book’s sequel, “Monster Hunter Vendetta,” will be available from Baen this September.

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