Friday, August 14, 2009

Rollicking Fun: Monster Hunter International

You know you’re really gonna like a book when it begins, “On one otherwise normal Tuesday evening I had the chance to live the American dream. I was able to throw my incompetent jackass of a boss from a fourteenth story window.”

Larry Correia’s Monster Hunter International (link below) is fun from cover to cover. Its hero is Owen Z. Pitt. His father named Owen after a POS Australian sub-machine gun he had carried in the Vietnam War. That naming becomes significant later, but no more on that. I’m shooting for a spoiler-free review.

Shooting is a good metaphor. There’re a lot of guns in Monster Hunter International. Pitt is a self-described gun nut (just like me). He collects guns and has been shooting them since he was a child (just like me). Unlike me, he is about 6’4” and a former extreme fighter now turned accountant.

His boss is beyond incompetent. One day, his boss calls Pitt into his office. He transforms into a werewolf in front of Pitt’s disbelieving eyes and then it’s off to the races.

With the help of brawn and a concealed .357 revolver (not all that useful on a werewolf, but every little bit helps) Pitt defenestrates his furry boss. He wakes in the hospital. Government goons are stationed there to ensure that he doesn’t turn into a werewolf. If he does, Pitt gets a silver bullet to the brain pan. While there, Pitt learns that werewolves, vampires, and things that go bump in the night are real.

Not only are they real, but government agents fight them. Private outfits, one of which is named Monster Hunter International, receive bounties for each creepy-crawly they kill. That outfit recruits our erstwhile accountant and gives him his bounty check from Uncle Sam, $50,000. Not bad work; he gets to kill his boss in self-defense and gets good coin to boot. Lucky SOB.

The book explores the training a good monster hunter gets, follows Pitt and his fellow newbies through various battles, until Pitt and company find out they’re dealing with a supreme monster who could bring back Lovecraftian Old Ones. Does it get any better than that?

I’m dangerously close to spoilers here, so I’ll close with a few observations. Correia is a firearms instructor and a gunnie. Sentences close to a gun enthusiast’s heart are sprinkled liberally throughout the book. For example a vampire smashes Pitt’s favorite shotgun, a well-used 870 Remington, and his Kimber pistol. I shed a tear.

Like me, Correia and his characters prefer the 1911 platform. Don’t get me wrong, Glocks are good guns, but I happen to like John Moses Browning’s contraption better. Here is what a leading female character said, “[My little brother’s] a Glock nut. The poor deluded bastard.” I’m in love, platonically of course.

On final thing about Monster Hunter International; I hope there’s a sequel.

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