Saturday, September 4, 2010

Stabbed in Stanzas Book Review: Monsters and Victims by Charlie Bondhus

Monsters and Victims
Charlie Bondhus
Reviewed by Karen L. Newman

Works about serial killers are somewhat common in today’s horror literature and, for the most part, are formulaic, but not Monsters and Victims by Charlie Bondhus, released by Gothic Press. This novella is not a straight narrative. Instead the author utilizes the premise of a found manuscript to tell the story. The book contains two separate electronic documents generated by two fictional writers, one initially known as Victor Bensenkein and the other by someone unknown whose identity is revealed at the end, even though the reader should have determined whom he or she is before then. This approach adds to the story’s tension as well as aiding in holding the reader’s interest.
In the book Victor and fellow college student Darryl Martin form an unsanctioned school organization called the Society of Dominant Hermeneutics where they and a few other students discuss man’s evolution. Here the story loses some credibility since I believe that most students outside class are more interested in sex, alcohol, or other nonacademic pursuits. However, the formation of the group itself showcases the offbeat nature of these two main characters. Darryl is obsessed with a local serial killer known in the media as The Snuff Killer and shares his fascination with the group. Then his relationship in regards to the other members is explored. The plot is unpredictable most of the time and Bondhus builds suspense well throughout.
Monsters and Victims is an interesting read. An old topic is new again because of a thought-provoking theme of evolution and man’s desire for ultimate power over others in a destructive manner.

--Karen L. Newman
(Visit Charlie Bondhus' Facebook here)