Monstrous by Charlotte Bond. Book review

Monstrous by Charlotte Bond, Hersham Horror Books, £8.00

Reviewed by Dave Jeffery

A teenage girl decamps with her emotionally impulsive mother to start up a new life in Haven, a forest-based commune.  The inhabitants are a motley crew, bound by The Code, a communal book of rickety ethics, depending on where one sits in the commune’s hierarchy.  This plays as a backdrop to the rumours of strange entities roaming the woods, witch’s curses and the kinds of goings on you’d expect when you put a load of human beings together in a forest and play house.

Part supernatural mystery, part whodunit, Bond’s novella is a sedate yet affective affair. The narrative is simple and uncomplicated; telling what is, in essence, a YA ghost story reminiscent of R.L. Stine with a dollop of risqué language and a splash of age-appropriate gore thrown in for good measure.

There are enough sinister happenings to layer up the suspense and brooding atmosphere Bond is clearly aiming to create for the reader, the forest itself becoming another character to ramp up the menace.

Bond may well till familiar ground here, but her touch is deft and articulate enough to make the story memorable; especially the sensitivity shown to the central conceit of those who are perhaps a little different, falling foul of contemporary society.  

If you lean towards horror that is creepy and traditional, then this is something you may well enjoy.