a review by Colin
The novel is set at the end of the Napoleonic Wars and the author, Dave Zeltserman, attempts to write in the style of the times – not always with great success.
This re-working of the Frankenstein tale turns the story on its head, portraying the monster (Friedrich Hoffmann) as the good guy and Victor as the villain. The story is told from Friedrich‘s point of view, who is framed by Victor for the grisly murder of his intended bride (Johanna).
Friedrich is executed but awakes to find himself immobile in a new huge and monster like body. There are odd hints of Friedrich and an earlier creation, Charlotte (a disembodied head) who sits in a bowl, being made as sex toys.
Just as Friedrich starts to regain his strength and be able to move, Victor disappears. Friedrich manages to break his bonds and goes in search of Victor for vengeance, but now, incarnated as a huge ugly demon he must keep himself hidden.
On his travels Hoffman meets people who are either kind or and horrified by his new appearance. He saves a woman from being burnt as a witch (Henriette) but then she is bitten by Vampires. Hoffman kills her to stop her from turning into a Vampire herself. When Hoffman stumbles across a group of black mass cultists who think he is the Devil, he saves a girl and then stays with the Satanists for two weeks keeping them naked and orders them to have an orgy for his blessing.
When Friedrich at lasts reaches Victor’s castle he finds himself under a spell and compelled to obey Victor’s commands. Frankenstein, now in cahoots with the Marquis de Sade, has Johanna’s brain in a jar and makes Friedrich pick out a girl to be killed and provide Johanna with a new body.
Friedrich finally manages to break the spell which binds him to Victor’s will, returning to the castle to wreak his vengeance. There is a surprising twist where Friedrich, after 200 years elapses, saves a group of old men woman and children from Nazi soldiers.
I found it a quick and easy read but thought it had a disappointing end. But you be the judge. Apart from Monster, which was selected by Booklist for their 2013 list of top 10 horror novels, Zeltserman has written other novels, all in the noir, mystery and horror genre.