A Taste for Monsters - Kirby, Matthew J.

A heartfelt thriller. Two words I never would’ve put together, but they describes A Taste for Monsters by Mathew J. Kirby accurately.

Evelyn is a young girl in 1888 London, trying to find a job in order to stay off the streets. But because of a disfigurement caused by her dangerous work in a matchstick factory, no one wants to hire her. In desperation, she goes to the hospital. If they can’t fix her face, then maybe they can give her job. At the hospital, the matron tells her that she would scare the patients away, but that she might have another job that would fit her needs. Evelyn is to be the maid of a permanent resident at the London Hospital: the Elephant Man. Evelyn has heard stories about him, and is terrified, but knowing that this job is the only thing that would keep her off the streets, she agrees.

Evelyn is surprised when she realizes she has more in common with the Elephant Man than she thought at first. Their disfigurements, their need to stay shut off from the rest of the world, and even… their ability to see the ghosts of the victims of a serial killer. Evelyn and the Elephant Man build a friendship together like no other, but the Elephant Man’s health is fragile, and the ghosts’ nightly visits are draining on him. Evelyn needs to find the ghosts’ killer and put the spirits at rest or it might mean that she will lose the only friend she has ever had.

I don’t usually enjoy paranormal books and I thought this book would attest to that, but decided to give it a chance, anyway. I’m glad I did, because this book was a brilliant work of art. The tone and the mood of the story transported me back in the past to London. The heartwarming characters added a lighter subplot to the story that contrasted well against the usual dark themes of a thriller. The ghosts of the serial killer’s victims each had their own story, adding subplots that merged well with the main plot and added something special to the book.

A Taste for Monsters gets a 9/10. This book is nearly perfect. There was even a moral behind the story, and well-written character arcs, things that most thrillers tend to overlook. The only thing I didn’t enjoy was the ending; it was far too abrupt and unexpected for me. The ending itself was okay, but it needed some foreshadowing and better pacing to get a 10/10. I would recommend this book to anyone who doesn’t get scared easily. This is one of those books that can make you cry, laugh, and give you nightmares all at the same time.