Gonzalo lives a strange existence. Like his parents before him, he’s a cemetery man. Stuck in rut, Gonzalo wants something more. Bitter at his lot, he stumbles through life, performing his chores and routines, over and over again.
He lives and works at a funeral parlor. Corpses are his only friend–actual corpses: they walk and talk, stuck between here and the other side.
Gonzalo helps them transition from life to death. He treats them as friends, and sometimes even lovers. But everything changes for him when he father’s a halfbreed–half human, half corpse.
The Mortuary Monster by Andrew J. Stone is a novel filled with charm and imagination. It’s more fable than horror. Imagine if Neil Gaiman and Terry Gilliam wrote Night Breed, then you’ll have an idea of the wit and style of Stone’s debut novel.
Stone is an impressive writer and The Mortuary Monster is a strong debut. As with most debut novels, however, you will come across a few kinks he’ll undoubtedly iron out in the future. The pacing flows nicely but trips up every once in a while and the dialogue, usually stylized and witty, hits snags on occasion. These are minor criticism, of course. In fact, they’re the only ones that come to mind.
The beauty of this novel lies in its heart and soul. This isn’t a cynical novel. You sense melancholy underneath the surface as the characters grow and attach themselves to you.
It’s a hard to peg this book down. It fits in a category alongside novels such as Coraline, The Graveyard Book, and The Great and Secret Show–only skewed toward older readers. It’s reminiscent of The Princess Bride in the sense that it encompasses many genres but doesn’t fit neatly into any single genre. And that’s part of its appeal.
The Mortuary Monster is unique, engaging, horrific, and charming. In an ideal world, throngs of people would read and praise it. It’s appeal–which is considerable–should reach a far larger audience than its current status. It’s a novel ripe for cult status, one you’ll find yourself thinking about when you’re not reading it.
The Mortuary Monster
Andrew J. Stone