Posted in Reviews

Storyhack 0: The Monster Without by Julie Frost

I struggled with this one. I’m not a fan of Urban Fantasy, werewolves and vampires do nothing for me at all. When said werewolves are depressed war veterans my enjoyment level dips even further.
Spoilers ahead!

Right then. Julie Frost can write. I got a real Kelley Armstrong vibe off the story, a thought confirmed by my daughter who also read the story. She LOVED it btw, it hit all her buttons and is planning on buying Frosts book as soon as she’s finished with her current crop. She’s a massive Armstrong fan and so the comparison is a badge of honor.

So, what’s it all about?
The hero is a Private Detective, just coming off a particularly nasty case. It’s left him depressed. It’s triggered memories of Afghanistan leading to deeper depression. Enter a femme fatale with a tale of woe. Reluctant to get involved he’s nevertheless drawn in against his will.
I had the whole thing figured out far earlier than I should have, and maybe that’s down to a minor addiction to noir detective fiction or maybe its that Frost telegraphed the ending by sticking so hard to the genre conventions. Daughter got it pretty quickly too, though a couple of clues later than I did.
If there’s one thing that’s annoyed me about Storyhack is the number of stories that feel like introductions to series. It’s bloated many of the stories as essential backstory is peddled. Frost gives us the works. A devoted wife who wants to be an actress, the mother-in-law that’s like a mother to the hero. The cop who’s part buddy part counselor. It didn’t kill the stories flow but you could sure feel those beats getting hit. Daughter’s already looking forward to reading more about them.

Me, not so much.

Look, there’s no way with the best will in the world that I was ever going to like every story in the collection, it’s never happened yet. Daughter did, quite a lot as it happens so there is that. There’s nothing wrong with the Frosts craft, she’s a decent writer without a doubt.

Depressed werewolves just aren’t my thing.

Thanks for reading guys

Take care




40+, married and a full-time father to my granddaughter (don't ask, it's complicated).

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