Monsters In Our Wake – J.H. Moncrieff
Reviewed by Steve Stred
I first discovered Moncrieff’s work through Return to Dyatlov Pass. That book was being praised in the online book community and having loved the movie Devil’s Pass, also based on the incident, I jumped on it. I had a great time with it and really enjoyed the companion piece that Moncrieff had in the Hellhole Anthology last year.
I’m a proud Canadian and when I find out an author is Canadian, I always prioritize their works. So once I found out Moncrieff was a fellow Canuck living in Winnipeg, I also snagged The Bear Who Wouldn’t Leave as well as the first few books in the Ghost Writer’s series. I loved The Bear, but haven’t managed to get to the series yet.
At the time I also snagged this book, Monsters in Our Wake. On a recent trip out west for a professional conference, I decided to have a bit of a creature-feature theme for my reads and this was third up, after Master of the Forest and Antarctic Ice Beasts.
When I read Return to Dyatlov Pass, I loved Moncrieff’s character development and ease of creating tension and stress. I ultimately ended up giving it a 4 star rating because I found a few areas felt stunted and wished the book was longer. Not the case here. I message with J.H. a bit, picking her brain about some things and just generally chatting about life. When I mentioned this one was on my docket, she replied that she hoped I enjoyed because it was a bit ‘different.’ After having read it, I know what she meant!
This story takes place entirely at sea, on The Cormorant, a prototype drilling vessel. We are introduced to Flora, an oceanographer who’s been hired on to ensure ideal drilling locations. We meet the Greek Captain, the engineers Thor and Liam and then a small supporting cast of ship crew; Frank and George.
The ‘different’ part of the book is Moncrieff telling a large portion of the tale through the eyes of one of the sea creatures, named Nokken. We meet his wife and son (who reminded me of Joffrey from GOT) and learn a bit of the creatures back story.
Moncrieff does a fantastic job of stacking the odds against Flora as well as the humans in general. The crew themselves are a misogynistic bunch, quickly laying the blame on everything that goes wrong on Flora. “Its bad luck to have a girl on board,” is a tried and true sailor theme, but in this story, that’s probably the ‘nicest’ statement directed towards her. Time and time again, Flora responds and works hard to earn the respect she deserves. I enjoyed the sprinkling of back story for Flora and her son, giving her the much needed ‘why’ for her survival.
And while I found Dyatlov had a few stunted portions that detracted a bit from the flow, Moncrieff delivers here, letting every scenario play out, sometimes in all its magnificent gore-filled glory.
Moncrieff has catapulted herself into one of my “must-read” authors and has planted herself firmly behind Andrew Pyper in my favourite Canadian Author list. I can’t wait for her first release from Flame Tree Press in October, but in the meantime, I’ll be catching up by reading her Ghost Writers Series.
Star Rating (out of 5): 5*
Monsters In Our Wake
In the idyllic waters of the South Pacific lurks a dangerous and insatiable predator, a monster whose bloodlust and greed threatens the very survival of our planet.
Thousands of miles from the nearest human settlement, deep on the ocean floor, the creatures have lived for millennia. But when an oil drill bursts through their lair, Nøkken attacks, damaging the drilling ship’s engine, trapping the desperate crew.
The longer the humans remain in Nøkken’s territory, struggling to repair their ailing ship, the more confrontations occur between the two species. When the death toll rises, the crew turns on each other, and marine geologist Flora Duchovney realizes the scariest monsters aren’t below the surface.
Steve Stred is an up-and-coming Dark, Bleak Horror author.
Steve is the author of the novel Invisible, the novellas Wagon Buddy, Yuri and Jane: the 816 Chronicles and two collections of short stories; Frostbitten: 12 Hymns of Misery and Left Hand Path: 13 More Tales of Black Magick, the dark poetry collection Dim the Sun and his most recent release was the coming-of-age, urban legend tale The Girl Who Hid in the Trees.
On June 1st, 2019 his second full-length novel, The Stranger will be welcomed to the world.
Steve is also a voracious reader, reviewing everything he reads and submitting the majority of his reviews to be featured on Kendall Reviews.
Steve Stred is based in Edmonton, AB, Canada and lives with his wife, his son and their dog OJ.
You can follow Steve on Twitter @stevestred
You can visit Steve’s Official website here
Ahhh… nothing like the annual summer family camping trip, right?
Malcolm, his wife Sam and their two kids have been staying at the same cabin, at the same campground for years now. Heck, Malcolm’s been coming to the campground since he was a kid.
Miles and miles of groomed trails, hiking, kayaking on the pristine lake. What’s not to like?
But this year… well this year’s different. You see, roof repairs have caused them to have to change their plans. Now they’re staying at the cabin at the end of season, in fact they’re the last campers before it closes for the winter.
While happy to be spending time with the family, Malcolm feels a shift.
The caretaker next door makes it known he hates him.
The trees… move and dance, as though calling him, beckoning him.
Then on a seemingly normal kayaking trip, the family makes a discovery.
YOU TAKE FROM ME
I TAKE FROM YOU
Something’s out there, just on the other side of the fence. Malcolm’s positive it’s just the caretaker trying to scare him, teach the family a lesson.
But what if it’s not…
What if there is something out there?
The Stranger is the second novel from Steve Stred and 9th release overall. The Stranger is another offering following in the footsteps of similar books Invisible, YURI and The Girl Who Hid in the Trees. As Steve describes his works; “dark, bleak horror.”
With this release, Steve has decided to look deeper into what makes humans tick. He confronts two key elements of mankind; bigotry and our environmental footprint.
Featuring stunning cover art by Chadwick St. John (www.inkshadows.com), The Stranger will be a story that will leave you feeling uneasy and have you looking at the trees differently.
Maybe it’s not the wind making the branches sway…