cover image A Cosmology of Monsters

A Cosmology of Monsters

Shaun Hamill. Pantheon, $26.95 (336p) ISBN 978-1-5247-4767-1

Hamill’s debut mishmash of monster tale and family drama centers around Noah Turner, whose family members have been plagued by monsters for years. Noah attempts to piece together events before and after his birth—when his parents met, when his oldest sister disappeared, and when the entire family put together a frightening haunted house Halloween attraction near their home—to understand why these creatures have followed his family and what, if anything, they want. But in doing so, he creates a connection with a beast that will change his life. A foreboding mood hangs over the first half of the novel, sucking readers in, but as more is revealed about Noah, his family, and the creatures themselves, the story starts to feel hollow. In addition, the author’s sympathy is light for characters other than Noah. Hamill takes care to introduce female characters with agency, but overwrought descriptions of sex and nudity undercut any message of empowerment. After a promising start, this tale spirals down into incoherence and irrelevance. Agent: Kent D. Wolf, Friedrich Agency. (Sept.)