Jean doesn’t approve of twelve-year-old girls drinking coffee, but truly, Jean can get fucked.
Monsters is the story of two children who you really wouldn’t want to meet on your summer holidays. The girl (we never get told her name) who narrates the story is an orphan who lives with her Granny and spends every summer in Fowey, Cornwall, with her detestable uncle and quivering aunt. She has a fairly obsessive interest in murder, which tends to disturb most other people and means that she has no friends. Imagine her delight, therefore, when Miles and his mother turn up at her aunt and uncle’s hotel.
Miles is a sociopath, also with an unsavoury interest in murder. He and the girl hit it off immediately and decide to investigate a spate of murders that has just sprung up in Fowey.
If I were to list all the things I loved about this book, it would be a very long, tiresome list and also wouldn’t make much sense because so much of what I enjoyed is taken within the context of the story. Suffice to say that Emerald Fennell manages to make sociopaths sound like a right laugh, ordinary people sound like a bunch of hypocritical wankers and Fowey (which in reality is a beautiful town) sound utterly terrifying.
For me, this book has the Big Three: great plot, great characters and great writing. The plot doesn’t let up for one second: it’s in turn a curious character study and a gruesome murder mystery. Miles and The Girl are terrifying and the narrative itself had me laughing out loud.
Plus, never before has an author made a dead cat sound so amusing. Jerome K Jerome came close with his description of a dead dog floating down the Thames, but Fucko the cat knocks Jerome’s dead dog into a cocked hat (box).
I can’t believe I’ve never heard of this book before. Seriously, I can think of absolutely nothing about this book that I would change. The humour is so sly, dry and dark and the plot is so intriguing. Just brilliant.
Recommended for anyone with a taste for very dark comedies.