cover image The Montauk Monster

The Montauk Monster

Hunter Shea. Kensington/Pinnacle, $7.99 mass market (352p) ISBN 978-0-7860-3475-8

Pairing the urban mythologies of the Montauk Monster and the government labs on Plum Island creates staggering levels of mayhem in this unreservedly recycled yet wholly enthralling hulk of a summer beach read. An oceanside rendezvous lifted directly from Jaws propels police officers Gray Dalton and Meredith Hernandez to uncover the origins of bizarre animal attacks in the Long Island town of Montauk. A muscular plotter, Shea (Evil Eternal) initially withholds more than he reveals; mutant animals with toxic blood lurk in the shadows for some time before attacking in a wave of dismemberments and gruesome gore. Not content with merely dispatching hapless tourists and hard-luck townies, Shea gleefully hurls in the cast of a Real Housewives–inspired TV show, pot-addled teenagers haplessly defending themselves with fireworks, a surprisingly resilient indigent known as Can Man, and an acronym-fest of heavily armed federal agents. This affectionate homage to a bygone genre is redolent of sunscreen and nostalgia, hardly groundbreaking but a lot of splattery fun. (June)