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37 review for We Make Monsters Here

  1. 5 out of 5

    Richard Martin

    Richard Newby’s first horror collection is a book nine years in the making. The first story (‘Monster Truck’) was written in 2012 and Newby has made the interesting choice of presenting each story chronologically, in the order in which they were written. It makes for interesting reading when there is the added factor of chronicling a writer’s development and growth over such a long period. I was surprised, therefore, to find that a lot of my favourite stories were spread over a pretty wide cross- Richard Newby’s first horror collection is a book nine years in the making. The first story (‘Monster Truck’) was written in 2012 and Newby has made the interesting choice of presenting each story chronologically, in the order in which they were written. It makes for interesting reading when there is the added factor of chronicling a writer’s development and growth over such a long period. I was surprised, therefore, to find that a lot of my favourite stories were spread over a pretty wide cross-section of the books ten short stories. In fact, I found the whole book to be both consistent and cohesive. Newby’s introduction demonstrates an interest in both fairy tales and real word societal issues and a lot of his stories use wildly imaginative and outlandish ideas and imagery to tell very real stories about people and their experiences, whether they be regarding somebody’s appearance, race, beliefs or just their feelings about the world they live in. The opening story (‘Monster Truck’) is a great example and a strong opener. It features classic monsters (vampires, werewolves, sirens) who have fallen on hard times and don’t feel particularly relevant anymore, a fact that becomes especially apparent when they meet a man who is a true monster. A lot of the stories have a great hook or original idea behind them, which is then used to examine an element of our lives that Newby finds interesting. ‘Soundstage Earth’ is humorous, but a simultaneously melancholy and disturbing tale of a world where people are forced to play a part in a long ongoing movie without an end. ‘Doughboy’ tells a story of a manmade creature built to imitate the people around it, and its introduction into a selfish, self-absorbed middle-class family of overachievers has some interesting outcomes. I thoroughly enjoyed the unbridled creativity at work, but the extra layer of subtext and social commentary was definitely an added bonus. My favourite story was perhaps the most unusual. ‘Madge, the World Spider, and One Last Drink’ is exactly as odd as you would expect based on the title, a mix of grim reality, heightened fantasy and existential horror, it was both memorable and relatable, with an unpredictable set-up and an underlying message that will speak to a lot of readers. The books closing tale (‘Black Bone Pit’), both the most recent and the longest story in the collection, was another stand-out. Generations spanning short about a small town mired in racial divide, anchored by a fantastic lead character, and boasting a simultaneously satisfying, challenging and scary ending, it was a fantastic story to wrap up a wonderful book. Every story here more than justifies its inclusion and even those I enjoyed less (‘War Mother’ has some incredible imagery and memorable moments) are simply victims of the success of those that bookend it, by simply being solid, well-told stories, nothing more or less. ‘We Make Monsters Here’ is a stellar collection of outstanding stories that both work as pieces of pure entertainment, but contain depths that reward those willing to dig a little deeper. I sincerely hope we don’t have to wait another nine years for a follow-up! You can read more reviews of new and upcoming horror releases at www.myindiemuse.com/category/genre/ho... I also promote indie horror via Twitter - @RickReadsHorror

  2. 5 out of 5

    Irene

    This dark collection of grim stories contain an eclectic mix of humor, horror, sci-fi and parable. Most of the monsters are of the human variety. While not every story was a big hit with me, the reason I ended up giving this book a 5 star rating was because the stories that I did love, were so crazy over the top good. The kind that make me wish somebody in Hollywood would pick up a book once in a while, and read a new author instead of rehashing sequels and remaking played out tired plots. My fav This dark collection of grim stories contain an eclectic mix of humor, horror, sci-fi and parable. Most of the monsters are of the human variety. While not every story was a big hit with me, the reason I ended up giving this book a 5 star rating was because the stories that I did love, were so crazy over the top good. The kind that make me wish somebody in Hollywood would pick up a book once in a while, and read a new author instead of rehashing sequels and remaking played out tired plots. My favorites in this collection were A Dinner Date, in which a lonely young woman who is obsessed with a strange fetish thinks she has finally found the man who can fulfill her bizarre desire. The Weed, which brought to mind two things from the 80s, a combination of Nancy Reagan telling me to just say no to drugs and Stephen King's comedic portrayal of Jordy in Creepshow, although the moral of the story delves deeper. What I Learned About Ghosts off Route 64 shows that sometimes people are not haunted by ghosts, but by the actions of other people. In Doughboy A man brings home a toy that can feed on and mirror the values he and his wife have passed on to their children. War Mother is a heartbreaking reminder that the casualties of war don't just occur on the battlefield but continue long after the war has ended, and can spread to those who never fought. The final story Black-Bone Pit was in my opinion the star of the show. It is a visceral tale that put me through a wringer of emotions. It is one of my favorite types of horror, full of small town secrets built on a dark history of evil. In the end, justice delayed does not always mean justice denied. I received a complimentary copy for review

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jeanne

    I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. Those of you familiar with my reviews know that receiving an ARC will in no way affect my review. While horror is my preferred genre, short stories are my passion. I was immediately intrigued by the name and cover of this book. I generally hope to get one or two good stories out of a collection. I was thrilled to find that I enjoyed each of these stories. If you are expecting bloody, gory violence, you will find a mo I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. Those of you familiar with my reviews know that receiving an ARC will in no way affect my review. While horror is my preferred genre, short stories are my passion. I was immediately intrigued by the name and cover of this book. I generally hope to get one or two good stories out of a collection. I was thrilled to find that I enjoyed each of these stories. If you are expecting bloody, gory violence, you will find a more subtle but equally as terrifying horror among these pages. These stories are intelligent and intelligent horror is a rather rare commodity these days. I literally watched these stories play out in my mind as I read them, the author creating such vivid imagery. While I am thoroughly entertained by monsters, it is only the human monster that truly scares me. Newby successfully touches upon those fears. Each story is uniquely creative. Madge, the World-Spider, and One Last Drink rivals the best of the Twilight Zone episodes. TZ is sacred to me and I would never casually compare anything to it. This is the story that keeps coming back to me the most and will most likely haunt me forever. War Mother left me in tears and I was not expecting that. The dog tags visual was overwhelming. This one will also stay with me for a long time. The Weed - Jordy Verill immediately popped to mind when I started this one. That story was fun while The Weed is much darker. Again - those visuals were spot on and intense. All the stories in this book are great. But those are my personal favorites. Newby is obviously a quite talented writer and I look forward to seeing what he produces in the future.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    I received an e-Galley ARC of We Make Monsters Here, authored by Richard Newby, for review consideration. What follows below is my honest review, freely given. I rated this collection 4.5 stars. This was a diverse collection within a theme, and I think we can agree that some monsters are of our own making. They’re the ones hardest to slay, because they start from a piece of any one of us. MONSTER TRUCK Different components in this I liked, but overall this may count as my bottom story. The setup ha I received an e-Galley ARC of We Make Monsters Here, authored by Richard Newby, for review consideration. What follows below is my honest review, freely given. I rated this collection 4.5 stars. This was a diverse collection within a theme, and I think we can agree that some monsters are of our own making. They’re the ones hardest to slay, because they start from a piece of any one of us. MONSTER TRUCK Different components in this I liked, but overall this may count as my bottom story. The setup had my interest piqued, reading more on that would have been more satisfying to me. Looking at some of today’s drama, people add monstrous traits on the already feared ‘every man’, I’m not sure we are ready to let go of what moves in the shadows just yet to help explain our fears. A DINNER DATE The chaotic opening scene to Feed (2005) flooded my mind for the first time in almost ten years. I’ve not read much fictional vorarephilia, whether by me just missing it, or the lack of volume pertaining to it. I could see the Bridget Jones’s Diary format working for a horror genre dating book following Melinda on her quest. I’d read that. THE WEED The pull of this experience would be strong for many, even with warnings, I imagine. I’m interested in how the dealer came to have a strain capable of this, and how did he discover it’s capabilities? Also, what does he gain from this seemingly profitless practice? SOUNDSTAGE EARTH I think earth’s karma, or more appropriate, humanity’s karma, makes this scenario possible. Did the last few words of this story tie back to a thought the MC had a few pages before? Is he trying to push blame off his shoulders, or is this an honest realization/connection? BUSHIDO VIRTUE #5 An odd, ghoulish story, in a good way. Still not sure of how it all untangles meaning-wise, enjoyable in it’s strangeness. MADGE, THE WORLD SPIDER, AND ONE LAST DRINK One of my favorites in this collection. Such a unique concept. I would love to see an artist do their take of the world spider and his web behind the counter at Bar-ness, passing the drink to Rodney. WHAT I LEARNED ABOUT GHOSTS OFF ROUTE 64 Broke my heart, but this is the star in the collection for me. We Make Monsters Here gives the reader horrific creatures, both familiar and new, but at the end of the day fiction, you can put it down, walk away from. Almost. Then you reach here, the story that could come from any corner of our country, revealed in hushed, sorrowful confidence. DOUGHBOY I’m on the fence for the effectiveness with this one, I was engaged throughout but felt it was heavy handed with the message. Reminded me of Stephen King when he’s on a roll in some of his novels, every once in a while it can pull you from the narrative. WAR MOTHER Another favorite, the image of War in my mind is powerful, the author shows great talent in guiding the reader to seeing his creations. Both my grandfathers were war veterans and quiet in the time I was able to know them. This is a perceptive story. BLACK-BONE PIT For a closing story I thought this an excellent choice. What I took from it was the land remembers, the blood remembers, the debt will come due. You have one last chance to accept your place in creating that debt, but I would not expect it to move the feather of Ma’at in your favor.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Virginia

    We make monsters here This book was recommended to me and I don’t do horror so I was pretty interested to see why I should read it. This book is worth the read. It looks at the things we bury, lie about, hide and destroy ourselves with in order to create and become our own monsters. It is no scarier than the monsters we read about everyday in our country. It is not what nightmares are made of that’s frightening but how the nightmares are of our own doing - living and past actions we created. The We make monsters here This book was recommended to me and I don’t do horror so I was pretty interested to see why I should read it. This book is worth the read. It looks at the things we bury, lie about, hide and destroy ourselves with in order to create and become our own monsters. It is no scarier than the monsters we read about everyday in our country. It is not what nightmares are made of that’s frightening but how the nightmares are of our own doing - living and past actions we created. The stories are weird, interesting, sad, and honest. My favorite is Black Bone Pit, a true illustration of a story of our buried past. I love the way Richard tells these stories, each so unique and built on the different types of monsters and destructions we create. He builds characters in a way that you know them. Every story is set up so vividly you can see them play out in your head. This book is a Twilight Zone show in the making. Looking forward to the next read from Richard Newby!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily. I enjoyed the short stories that made up this book. Some of them I would have liked different endings, but they definitely were enjoyable reads. Not as scary as I expected, but cleverly written with unusual plots and twists. Well worth reading.

  7. 5 out of 5

    David

    Richard Newby knows monsters. If you don’t already know that from the extensive catalog of horror criticism available that he has published in countless outlets, and if you don’t just want to take his word for it when he states as much in the introduction to his first short story collection We Make Monsters Here, then you will be convinced somewhere around the third story of said collection. But his encyclopedic knowledge of the history of the darkest storytelling genre, on its own, isn’t what ma Richard Newby knows monsters. If you don’t already know that from the extensive catalog of horror criticism available that he has published in countless outlets, and if you don’t just want to take his word for it when he states as much in the introduction to his first short story collection We Make Monsters Here, then you will be convinced somewhere around the third story of said collection. But his encyclopedic knowledge of the history of the darkest storytelling genre, on its own, isn’t what makes his first fiction collection stand out. So while it would be easy to simplify the praise and position of this collection by contextualizing it against the standard points of influence and comparison, those writers for whom every contemporary horror writer owes credit—and for sure, Newby has the Clive Barker grotesquery and Stephen King’s best narrative voices peeking into the darker corners of the idyllic America of yesterday—I think it’s probably more necessary and difficult to find offer specific and contemporary measurements to explain why this haunting collection is uniquely effective. Because what makes Newby so successful in every one of his stories (and every story in the collection is a success, if to varying degrees and ambitions) is that Richard Newby knows fear. Not the “something is under the bed, there’s a noise outside, and holy shit, don’t go upstairs” fear, though that’s here in doses, but the “Being alive in this world is always terrifying” sort of fear. As a student of horror, Newby recognizes that, since the beginning, tiny and dull strands of real-world anxiety have been wrapped around all great works of horror as metaphor and sub-text. We Make Monsters Here changes the formula, in a way, so that Newby isn’t lacing his real anxieties around horror, but covering tumors of legitimate, here-and-now anxiety with a thin layer of horror trope, a wallpaper of horror characters applied so tightly that we see the more gruesome hideous horror beneath. In that sense, Newby is trying to make horror in an iconoclastic approach I’ve only seen touched in Brian Everson’s Windeye and Paul Tremblay’s Growing Things and Other Stories, incidentally two of my favorite collections since the turn of the century and two with which We Make Monsters Here deserves mention. Of course, I’m not being analytical in saying this; Newby all but provides his method in the introduction and then proceeds to give a quick illustration of the formula in the first of the stories, “Monster Truck,” wherein legendary monsters meet in a van taxi service, only to be scared away one by one by a human who speaks only about the reality of life. This will be the most accessible story for most readers and might, in another collection, be the easiest to forget were it not so useful as a ruler with which to measure the themes for the rest. From there, the collection takes us to some very hard places. I imagine that “What I Learned About Ghosts off Route 64” will be the favorite of a lot of horror fans. Here, Newby most readily earns that earlier Stephen King comparison in his narrative voice, and the emotional gut punch of the storyline is so earnestly landed that the echo is hard to shake. But that same sense of having witnessed a dreadful truth of our real lives is sewn into all these stories. And if it’s sometimes harder to find, it is also harder to escape hours later. Within the Lovecraftian dimensions of “Madge, the World Spider, and One Last Drunk,” a man deals with the truth that no life offers a path without suffering in poignant metaphor for suicidal ideation. “Soundstage Earth” operates superficially as a mind-bending and incomparable vision of alien apocalypse, but also serves to measure the emptiness of modern consumer culture as a means of social distraction. “War Mother” sets itself in a literal and literary hell where Newby leads an earnest conversation about the horror of living an entire adulthood against the backdrop of the never-ending wars in the Middle East. In each story, the reader is given an entertaining work of horror, but at the price of having to think about or talk about the diminishing quality of life in America and all of its original and growing sins: racism, misogyny, dehumanizing capitalism, all the forces and energies we in America use to destroy ourselves and each other, individually and collectively. Reading We Make Monsters Here is the best kind of daunting task, the kind that high horror should hope for. In this more tonal and affecting sense, Newby earns another point of modern comparison, particularly through the more personal and regional stories like “Bushido Virtue #5” and the closing “Black-Bone Pit.” I finished We Make Monsters Here with the feeling of having been in a brutal ten round fight, for much the same reasons that I felt similarly when finishing Ohio by Stephen Markley, another work determined to forcibly disallow the lie of the American heartland. And like Markley’s overbearing novel, that weight of hopelessness will be easy to pinpoint and diagnose to any reader born in the 80s and early 90s, that generation who walked into adulthood through the smoke of 9/11 and under the oppressive clouds of America’s crushing response, the generation who had to learn the hard way to make sure you question who the real monsters are. But this is the kind of thing that self-challenging readers should welcome. I found myself speeding through story-after-story, getting back into that fighting circle with these subjects, equipped with a little more strength and hope each time. Until finally, my imagination filled with the cutesy affectations of hopelessness from the grunge era, the last story gave relief in the form Traci, who crawls out of the literal pit with a triumph that corrects history much too little and a little too late, but who is still the most absolutely necessary kind of hero we can hope for in our terrifying real world.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Coleman

    There are monsters among us. These 10 tales toe the line between the real and the fantastical, between humor and horror, and are ultimately a testament to the harrowing reality of life in America. I particularly liked “A Dinner Date,” about a woman who obsessively fetishizes being eaten alive and has finally found a partner willing to fulfill her fantasy; “The Weed,” about a strain of cannabis with troubling side effects; and “What I Learned about Ghosts off Route 64,” which delves into the true There are monsters among us. These 10 tales toe the line between the real and the fantastical, between humor and horror, and are ultimately a testament to the harrowing reality of life in America. I particularly liked “A Dinner Date,” about a woman who obsessively fetishizes being eaten alive and has finally found a partner willing to fulfill her fantasy; “The Weed,” about a strain of cannabis with troubling side effects; and “What I Learned about Ghosts off Route 64,” which delves into the true ways in which America is haunted. The last story “The Black-Bone Pit,” is simply stunning. A mixed-race woman stuck in a racist small town will do anything to defend her family, but she doesn’t realize how deep the roots of her family grow, and how intertwined they are with a dark history of the townspeople who are willing to do anything to keep their community “clean”. The writing reminds me so much of the works of Alissa Nutting and Mariana Enriquez, which is the kind of writing that I adore. The stories often take unexpected twists and turns, but in the end, they all ring true. The scariest monsters are the ones we unknowingly see every day, and We Make Monsters Here knows exactly how to reveal them.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Cierra

    First Impression: Horror is one of my top favorite genres and the title intrigued me. Pros: Newby did a fantastic job of creating vast worlds that embody their own endless hells. I could easily envision the particular atmospheres with each story. The pacing was also well established throughout each of the stories and the characters felt like real people. Being a horror collection, I also appreciated the fact that none of the characters made nonsensical decisions that can often follow horror-esqu First Impression: Horror is one of my top favorite genres and the title intrigued me. Pros: Newby did a fantastic job of creating vast worlds that embody their own endless hells. I could easily envision the particular atmospheres with each story. The pacing was also well established throughout each of the stories and the characters felt like real people. Being a horror collection, I also appreciated the fact that none of the characters made nonsensical decisions that can often follow horror-esque content. Cons: There were only two stories that I didn’t really care for and couldn’t get into. None of the stories were uninteresting or bland, I just couldn’t focus in on the two. Overall Thoughts: I enjoyed the writing style, the characters, and how widely unique each short story was from the next. A great read for true horror fans. I hope the author continues to put out more collections. Rating: 4 ⭐️ out of 5. **I received a complimentary copy of this book via BookSirens and am leaving this review voluntarily**

  10. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    This anthology was not what I was expecting, but it was full of a surprising number of gems that I really enjoyed. The author does a great job of delving into the horrors of the human mind/heart. Each story gives you a moment to pause and reflect on your own experiences and the state of the world. A couple of stories in particular stood out for me - "The Weed", "Madge, the World-Spider, and One Last Drink", and "Black-Bone Pit". If you enjoy horror, short stories, or just want a mental palate cl This anthology was not what I was expecting, but it was full of a surprising number of gems that I really enjoyed. The author does a great job of delving into the horrors of the human mind/heart. Each story gives you a moment to pause and reflect on your own experiences and the state of the world. A couple of stories in particular stood out for me - "The Weed", "Madge, the World-Spider, and One Last Drink", and "Black-Bone Pit". If you enjoy horror, short stories, or just want a mental palate cleanser between longer novels - definitely give this one a try. I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Bronte Roberts

    I received a copy for free via Book sirens and am leaving this honest review voluntarily. This sounded a promising collection but I'm afraid I really struggled with it. In fact I got half way through and almost gave up on it, but then came a story I enjoyed. Not so great was that I soon realised I'd actually read "What I learned about ghosts off route 64" already in an anthology. It's a really good little story which encouraged me to keep reading and I did eventually finish the book. The stories th I received a copy for free via Book sirens and am leaving this honest review voluntarily. This sounded a promising collection but I'm afraid I really struggled with it. In fact I got half way through and almost gave up on it, but then came a story I enjoyed. Not so great was that I soon realised I'd actually read "What I learned about ghosts off route 64" already in an anthology. It's a really good little story which encouraged me to keep reading and I did eventually finish the book. The stories that came after were all ok but didn't do a huge amount for me. I think horror is a tricky genre as we all have different opinions of what we consider horrific and so a writer is always going to be in the boat of "you can't please all of the people all of the time." In fact I wouldn't strictly class "What I learned....." as horror, but for me it was by far the most skillfully crafted tale in the collection and I'd love more of the authors work to have the same tone. It's understated compared to all the others and for me works better as a result. I believe this is a chronologically ordered selection of work as the writer has evolved his style with age and experience and that would make sense of the style changes. The first half of the book features stories which seem unsophisticated and rather as though they're trying too hard. Some veer more towards the weird but all felt somehow self conscious and strangely claustrophobic and left me feeling depressed. Those that come after "What I learned..." (trust me to favour the story with the longest title!) feel quite different and are more accomplished, have a clearer intent and are a smoother read as a result. By their very nature collections and anthologies always have stories we favour over others and I'm sure there are plenty of readers who will have totally the opposite opinion to me about these stories. However I can only rate it on my own experience and I only really enjoyed that one story, (yes the one with the long title!) Perhaps you should read this one and decide for yourself? You might enjoy it all, and if you do happen to agree with me, maybe it's worth reading for that one story right slap bang in the middle?

  12. 5 out of 5

    Ryan

  13. 5 out of 5

    Shawn Lebrun

  14. 5 out of 5

    Richard Trice

  15. 5 out of 5

    Rudi Schwarze

  16. 4 out of 5

    Matt

  17. 5 out of 5

    Adrienne

  18. 4 out of 5

    Phillip Chavez

  19. 4 out of 5

    Chris

  20. 5 out of 5

    Dawson Joyce

  21. 4 out of 5

    Ryan

  22. 5 out of 5

    Sydney Scothon

  23. 5 out of 5

    Brianna

  24. 4 out of 5

    Dariah

  25. 4 out of 5

    Deanna Chapman

  26. 4 out of 5

    Annie

  27. 5 out of 5

    D.K. Hundt

  28. 5 out of 5

    Bronwyn

  29. 5 out of 5

    Melanie Lambert

  30. 4 out of 5

    Anthony Romero

  31. 4 out of 5

    Danielle Barnhart

  32. 4 out of 5

    Anna Madeleine

  33. 4 out of 5

    angela ♡

  34. 5 out of 5

    Devin Meenan

  35. 5 out of 5

    Matt Graupman

  36. 5 out of 5

    Ed Reifel

  37. 5 out of 5

    Nicole

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