Something monstrous is on the loose in the vacation destination of Montauk, New York, and it is making a feast of the quiet city’s residents in Hunter Shea’s latest fear-fest, The Montauk Monster.
Publisher’s Weekly named The Montauk Monster one of the best reads of the summer and after reading the thriller, I would be hard-pressed to argue with that assessment.
I am a huge fan of real-life mysteries and conspiracy theories, and Shea blends both into his creature feature. Have you ever heard of Plum Island? It’s an island off the eastern coast of Long Island. Located on the island is Plum Island Animal Disease Center of New York, a federal research facility that was used during the Cold War to test a secret biological program that targeted livestock.
In July 2008, a large mammal washed up on the shores of Montauk. Many residents believed the creature had originated on Plum Island, but some experts who saw photos of the creature thought it was just a raccoon. Whatever that creature may have actually been, Shea uses that real-life story as a launching point for his fictional tale of monsters gone wild. But the “stars” of Shea’s tale are much more horrific than whatever washed ashore on that day 6 years ago.
The action begins with two shredded bodies discovered on a beach. Officer Gray Dalton investigates and quickly discovers the terror is spreading throughout Montauk as creature sightings and attacks begin to mount. The creatures’ bite is deadly, but those who somehow survive the attack find themselves the victims of a deadly virus/contagion that burns its victims from the inside out. The officer’s investigation uncovers a link between the vicious creatures, a Long Island Legend, and secret government experiments on Plum Island.
With a fast-paced plot and realistic characters, The Montauk Monster delivers on its promise as a fun, guilty-pleasure summer read. If you enjoy monster stories in the vein of legendary Peter Benchley, with a dash of conspiracy theory thrown in, pick up this book. I can definitely see this book being optioned for a movie.
The Montauk Monster is a fast-paced sci-fi action thriller that grabs hold of you from the first pages and doesn’t let go until you reach the satisfying conclusion. I can’t wait to see what Shea puts out next.