Monsterland by Michael Phillip Cash

Monsterland

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KIRKUS REVIEW

From the author of Pokergeist (2015) comes a tale of teenagers at a theme park featuring actual zombies, vampires, and werewolves.

A plague has swept the globe, creating hordes of slow, flesh-starved zombies. Although this infected populace is contained in camps, the world economy has shuddered to a halt. Enter Moldavian philanthropist Dr. Vincent Conrad, who builds Monsterland parks in seven nations (including France and China) where visitors can, in safe environments, witness zombies, elusive werewolves, and the last portion of the vampire race. In the United States, the small town of Cooper Valley, California, will host Monsterland in exchange for a fresh water supply, a new medical center, and repaved roads. Highway patrolman Carter White is leery of Conrad’s true intent, particularly his claim that he’ll eventually find a cure for the plague. On Monsterland’s opening night, Carter attends as part of the additional security detail for the president and other dignitaries, but he’s surprised to learn that his stepsons, 17-year-old Wyatt and 14-year-old Josh, have won free VIP passes. The boys, as well as their teenage classmates Melvin and Howard, are monster fanatics, so Carter reluctantly allows them to attend. But the more Conrad assures everyone that the park is completely safe, the more Carter prepares for chaos. Author Cash brings his buoyant mix of terror and humor to a tale of three major monsters of classic horror. His take on zombies, werewolves, and vampires, much like his previous take on ghosts, is rooted in warmly likable characters. For example, Carter’s desire to be seen by his stepsons as a true father figure is hampered by Wyatt’s admiration of Conrad; Wyatt himself struggles to win over Jade, his lovely classmate, who’s dating Nolan, the bullying quarterback. Meanwhile, Cash portrays vampires Raoul and Sylvie as hair-metal has-beens who end up performing in Conrad’s Vampire Village rock opera. At its heart, the narrative cautions against soulless exploitation; in the suburban attraction Zombieville, for example, guests “were paused, filming with their cell phones. Signs pulled at [Wyatt]—buy this, purchase that.” The adventure ramps up to an enjoyably gore-soaked finale.

A signature Cash creation, full of both mayhem and heart.

Pub Date: Oct. 3rd, 2015
ISBN: 978-1-5171-8067-6
Page count: 208pp
Publisher: CreateSpace
Program: Kirkus Indie
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 2016




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