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Review: Monster by Frank Peretti

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img_0007This book has been sitting on my bookshelf for literally years. It’s one of the books I’ve packed and unpacked every time I’ve moved, quietly telling myself that this time I’ll read it.

Well, I finally did, so I can cross that off my mental to-do list.

I’ve read several of Frank Peretti‘s books over the years – Hangman’s Curse when I was younger and This Present Darkness a few years later – and he is no doubt a talented writer. However, Monster failed to grab me the way his other books have in the past.

The story is of a young married couple who embarks for a survival experience in the woods and are attacked by a mysterious creature in the middle of the night. Beck, the wife, is carried off and Reed, the husband, is left to explain what seems like a figment of his imagination.

The book progresses with two story lines, and then a third: Beck’s fight to survive in her new surroundings and Reed’s fight to find his wife, and then their friend’s search to find some answers about the creature they’re dealing with in the woods.

To Peretti’s credit, Monster is not a tale where Prince Charming swoops in to save the helpless princess. Beck is clever, resourceful, and adaptable. Indeed, Reed is shown to be a fallible human, grieving when he believes his wife is dead.

However, I feel that large number of characters in Monster hurts the chances of the reader really getting to know any of them. The cast increases as they make steps toward solving the mystery of what’s in the woods, but I suspect some of them could have remained more two-dimensional in order to make it easier for the reader.

The story is a good one; the plot makes sense within the world of the story, and the characters make reasonable choices. However, I didn’t get sucked in the way I would have liked and expected to by a thriller, and especially by a Peretti novel. So while I don’t feel my time was wasted, this one isn’t going to stay on my bookshelf for a reread.

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