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Reviewed by Lit Amri for Readers' Favorite
“Once in every generation, a monster awakens.” In The Monster by Josh Soule, a college student is having a rocky relationship with his mother, still pining for his ex-girlfriend, and feels betrayed by his friend when he sees them together at a Halloween mixer. When a stranger - who is dressed as a puppet - hurts the couple, the protagonist is framed for the aggression, which is the beginning of his series of misfortunes. The nameless protagonist, who’s also the narrator, considered himself unlucky compared to others; a ‘disease’ where bad things often happen to him. The one he dubbed the ‘Puppet Man’ is the biggest ill luck he has ever encountered, and trying to solve his problem by running away made me question his decision more than once.
Soule’s short novel seemed to be a slow burn at first, but things start to escalate for the character pretty quickly. One of the characters, Professor Jackson, says this to the protagonist, “The decisions you make today set the path for tomorrow.” He finds it “oddly comforting and soothing”. There are similar quotes with the same meaning but I find Jackson’s is more straightforward and better worded. As a reader, it had a profound motivating effect on me as well. From start to finish, I was emotionally invested in the story and the characters. The Monster is probably the perfect epitome of someone being in the wrong place and at the wrong time. However, this intriguing psychological crime drama has a twist in the end. Overall, this is a solid debut from Josh Soule.