Thursday, November 3, 2011
Review of Monster Hunter Alpha by Larry Correia
Werewolves are awesome, and the coolest werewolf character I’ve ever read about is Earl Shackleford. He goes by Earl “Harbinger” now, and he’s in charge of the monster hunting company, Monster Hunter International (MHI) in New York Times bestselling author Larry Correia’s uber cool urban fantasy world that mirrors our own.
I’m so glad Correia gave Earl his own book, Monster Hunter Alpha, as Earl was an important and mysterious, but secondary character in Monster Hunter International and Monster Hunter Vendetta—both excellent novels. In this third installment of the New York Times bestselling Monster Hunter franchise we get to learn more about Earl’s background, partly through fascinating journal entries, and we get to see how bad ass werewolves really are.
Earl’s tough, and since he’s nigh immortal, he’s been around since before World War I, he has a lot of experience to draw upon—though he’s only in control of his curse and the moon madness for part of the month. His life is exciting, deadly, and never boring when he decides to take a vacation. That’s what he tells the gang at MHI. In truth, he’s found out that his arch nemesis has surfaced, a Russian werewolf named Nikolai who Earl last battled in the jungles of Viet Nam. Armed with little information—and a truck full of guns and silver bullets—our monster hunting hero (who keep in mind is also a monster) is drawn to a middle of nowhere town in the frozen wilds of Michigan’s upper peninsula during a harsh blizzard.
A whole town of innocent people is attacked when an ancient artifact, buried in a mine near the town for decades, is finally located by a very devious villain—whose identity is secret for most of the book. Monster Hunter Alpha starts fast, and the story evolves a little more slowly after that, but like almost all great horror novels, the set-up pays huge dividends later.
Earl is assisted not by his crew from MHI, (Owen Pitt and the gang will have other books, don’t worry) but by the town’s deputy sheriff, Heather Kerkonen, a red head with a lot of fight in her who is related to the Norwegian guy who found the amulet and buried it in the mine long ago. She’s a well drawn character and a perfect compliment to Earl. The two of them form the core of the book and let me tell you, this would make a great movie or TV series. I think the dialogue alone is a screenwriter’s dream and Correia writes very cinematic scenes with everything you’d want in a movie, or a great book.
Monster Hunter Alpha is a top-notch urban fantasy action-horror novel with great thrills, chills, dark humor, and serious carnage. BIG GUNS, cool characters, many werewolf on werewolf battles, horrifying monsters, and a snowplow scene that you will never forget mark this as a killer book. It’s a lot of entertainment for $7.99, and the story builds to a truly amazing climax at the end that made me smile and wish for the next volume, Monster Hunter Legion.
Editor of The Crimson Pact Series