cover image Glorious Fiends

Glorious Fiends

Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam. Underland, $14.99 trade paper (142p) ISBN 978-1-63023-066-1

Stufflebeam’s gory romp of a debut novel (after the collection Where You Linger) follows the Monsters Three—chaotic vampire Roxanne, sensible gorgon Medusa, and conflicted scientist Mx. Hyde—as they shred their way through untold dangers in an attempt to stay alive, together, and on the right side of a far more powerful supernatural force. After Roxanne resurrects the other two-thirds of her trio, the guardian of the afterlife demands a heavy price: the souls of three other monsters, to be slain by the hands of the Monsters Three. As they set out to fulfill this bloody bargain, they must contend with Hellraiser-style cenobites, sexy bugs, and the precariousness of emotional intimacy among creatures of the night. The story wears its horror influences on its sleeve with campy glee even as it dissects them, and Stufflebeam does a great job establishing a rollicking road trip atmosphere. Though the emotional core is occasionally conflicted, oscillating between genuine emotional stakes and splatstick punch lines, there’s an infectious and subversive fun to the grisly proceedings that pays off nicely by story’s end. This is highly recommended for fans of Kat Leyh’s Thirsty Mermaids. Agent: Hannah Bowman, Liza Dawson Assoc. (Sept.)