Hi friends, Mouthskateerz. I hope the holiday has found you all well, and well fed. I hope the day was spent living and loving with friends and family.
When the plates are empty and the games have been played, when the Christmas decor has been hung and little one’s tucked in what is better the curling up in a warm bed and putting the finishing touches on an enjoyable read? Not much.
That sums up my Thanksgiving day, it was wonderful and fulfilling, as I hope your was.
Be sure to stay to the end for a generous giveaway.
Z-Dubbz reviews “We Are Monsters” by Brian Kirk. 314 pages published by Samhain Publishing LTD. (Samhain Horror) July 7, 2015.
Overall score: 4/5
“He closed his eyes and focused on his breathing. But the ghosts lived in the darkness, and they were restless. Tonight, they had come to haunt.”
The Apocalypse has come to the Sugar Hill mental asylum.
He’s the hospital’s newest, and most notorious, patient—a paranoid schizophrenic who sees humanity’s dark side.
Luckily he’s in good hands. Dr. Eli Alpert has a talent for healing tortured souls. And his protégé is working on a cure for schizophrenia, a drug that returns patients to their former selves. But unforeseen side effects are starting to emerge. Forcing prior traumas to the surface. Setting inner demons free.
Monsters have been unleashed inside the Sugar Hill mental asylum. They don’t have fangs or claws. They look just like you or me.
“No matter how many times he saw the syringe, the needle always looked too long. Too menacing. Less like an instrument of healing than one of pain. Another crude tool, in a long line of others, created to manipulate the human mind. And attempt to make it sane.”
The realm of mental illness is immediately fascinating and captivating. The idea (the warning?) that your consciousness can turn on you, turn against you and warp your perception of the world around you is unsettling. And I think it does, your consciousness turning on you, more often than you think. In little ways, easily corrected. But sometimes…
Sometimes the cliff is sharp and steep, and falling off of it can be detrimental.
I think that your level of interest concerning mental health/ illness and the business of pharmaceuticals will determine how involved you become with this novel, the first novel from Brian Kirk.
I was into it from the beginning. Mr. Kirk is an entertaining writer, keeping events interesting and moving along nicely. And the dialog is fluid and natural (it’s a big deal).
The first half of “We Are Monsters” is spent constructing and deconstructing the main cast of characters. Defining them and giving them a full depth of personality, not entirely likeable depth, but you have to have someone stirring the pot in order to finish the meal.
I’m of the belief that “Big Pharma” doesn’t have humanity’s best interest at heart, more interested in padding investors wallets and keeping the public medicated, so I was really able to connect with the plight of our main character Alex, a psychologist/ physician trying to concoct a designer drug to cure schizophrenia. I was more into Eli, head of Sugar Hill, and his humanistic stance toward therapy.
The second half of “We Are Monsters” is a jarring shift in tone, and unsettling shift in reality providing a interesting glimpse on the other side of the mental illness spectrum. This sudden shift could distract some readers, I for one found it exciting. I enjoy being kept off balance and being put in the position of catching up.
The chaotic, dreamlike scenery of the patient’s point of view, the longtime sick and the main cast thrust into a shared psychosis, is the more enjoyable segments of this read. I would have enjoyed more glimpses into the life of Crosby, the mass murderer and patient the funder’s of Sugar Hill are most interested in curing. Every moment with him is great and unsettling.
The story itself seems to be building to a large scale confrontation but plays out in a small scale way. All in all, “We Are Monsters” is a pretty great read and I am excited to see where Mr. Kirk goes from here.
“Jerry laughed, stretching his pale skin across a gaunt, skeletal face. ‘The medicine just makes you blind,’ Jerry said. ‘If you don’t want us to see, wouldn’t it just be easier to cut out our eyes? Take them with you. Look through them and you’ll see what I see.'”
Z-Dubbz is a big dumb animal!
The Mouths of Madness Podcastshow
“There’s madness in us all”
Brian Kirk lives in Atlanta with his beautiful wife and rambunctious identical twin boys. He works as a freelance writer in addition to writing fiction, and is currently working on the second book in a planned trilogy. We Are Monsters is his debut release. Feel free to connect with him online. Don’t worry, he only kills his characters.
See more about Brian at: http://briankirkblog.com/
Follow Brian on Facebook and Twitter. He’s found on Twitter at @Brian_Kirk and looks forward to connecting with you.
Praise for We Are Monsters
“Keep an eye on Brian Kirk. His ambitious debut, We Are Monsters, is a high-voltage thrill, like watching Sam Fuller’s Shock Corridor and Joel Schumacher’s Flatliners on split screens. ” — Jonathan Moore, Bram Stoker Award nominated author of Redheads
“We Are Monsters is fantastic — a frightening and intense thriller and one hell of a debut novel. I was blown away. Brian Kirk is exactly what readers need — a talented new voice with original, awe-inspiring ideas that can push the genre forward.”
-Brian Keene, best-selling author of Ghoul and The Rising
“Brian Kirk’s debut We Are Monsters is a smart, elaborate novel that weaves together the best and worst of us. Complex, terrifying, and still humane, this book moved me to both horror and compassion, and that’s a difficult thing indeed. Easily the best book I’ve read this year.” (Mercedes M. Yardley, author of Pretty Little Dead Girls: A Novel of Murder and Whimsy.)
“A tightly woven tale from an author who has a heart, and that makes me excited to see what else Kirk has in store for us. The whole story will have you examining the human race as never before.” (Ginger Nuts of Horror)
“Brian Kirk’s debut novel We Are Monsters is a sure bet. A hippy-trippy jaunt that goes deep into the baser things we keep bottled up… and what happens when they’re freed. Highly recommended!” (John F.D. Taff, Bram Stoker nominated author of The End In All Beginnings.)
“A disturbing, gets-under-your-skin debut novel. I expect to read much more from Kirk in the future.” (Robert Ford, author of The Compound and Samson and Denial.)
“Cleverly told. Psychologically complex.” (Scarlet’s Web)
“A gorgeous display of conceivable terror that resonates long after reading.” (Ranked as one of the Top Ten Horror Novels of 2015 by Best-Horror-Movies.net)
Click the rafflecopter link below and enter to win a $25 Amazon gift card from Brian Kirk! You can perform several tasks for entering each day here or at each stop that posts the giveaway link. Best of luck!
I received a review copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review, these are my unbiased feelings.