Read or Be Stupid: Monster by A Lee Martinez

Reading is important. It makes you less dumb, it improves your memory and it makes you less dumb. We want to encourage reading so we’ll be posting book reviews here from time to time. Check them out and read, or be stupid.

Monster by A Lee Martinez
Review by Ben

If you ever go to buy one of my books on Amazon (which I highly recommend doing) you’ll often see Amazon recommending books by A Lee Martinez at the bottom of the page.

It’s been like that for years and I’ve always meant to read one of his books. Gil’s All Fright Dinner, In the Company of Ogres, Emperor Mollusk vs The Sinister Brain—they all sound fun. I have no excuse for not reading any of his books sooner except that I’m apparently a self-absorbed jerk that spends more time looking at his own books on Amazon than other’s.

But, then somebody gave me Monster as a gift.

And, what a gift it was. I tore through this thing.

Monster is the main character of the story and he’s purple—but, just to start. Due to a curse he changes color whenever he wakes up and with each color comes a different power. The colors and various powers are so numerous that he keeps a journal to keep track of them.

Monster works as a freelancer for a special division of animal control that deals with yetis, dragons, trolls, etc. It’s less Men In Black than it sounds. He’s really more like the Orkin man—very pragmatic, blue collar worker, folds up his paper sidekick and goes home to his succubus girlfriend every night like I imagine all Orkin men do.

Over the course of the book, things go from weird to worse until the entire universe hangs in the balance. So, yes, Monster’s world  is ridiculous, but Martinez has created a simple explanation for it all without letting us getting lost in the world-building details that would otherwise slow the book down. And with such a bizarre set of characters and situations it would be easy to get silly, but he holds the material at just the right distance to keep the laughs coming while still giving the story the gravity it deserves. It’s serious and convincing when it needs to be and funny everywhere else.

Now that I’ve finally read one of A Lee Martinez’s books I can only hope that any comparison to my own writing is justified because this guy is good.

Get Monster here. I recommend it.


In an effort to make the world less dumb, we are now giving away free books. Check out this page and read, or be stupid. 

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  • reply Milo ,

    My wife and I are huge Martinez fans. I’m especially fond of Gil’s, Emperor Mollusk, and The Automatic Detective.

    • reply Benjamin Wallace ,

      I’m beginning to work my way through them. I’m reading In the Company of Ogres now.

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