What Shape Is Your Monster?

I read this novel through my Kindle Unlimited (KU) subscription.

Conjesero by Carl Alves is a supernatural murder mystery. In many murder mysteries, there is a victim and the reader interest is devoted to finding out the identity of the killer. In this novel, we know the killer who goes by many names that hide one identity, a mythical creature known as Conjesero. The creature is a shape shifter that exists in a world which generally doesn’t believe in such entities. Disproving this belief is the principal task of protagonist Detective Kevin Russell. If he can’t cause people to believe in Conjesero, he at least has to find a way to kill the creature before the body count climbs much higher. The body count could rise to consist of people important to Kevin, people such as his friend Paul, his cop partner Rita, his new doctor girlfriend Wendy, and his student friends Manny and brother Alex. There are lots of gruesome killings and graphic descriptions of dismemberment throughout the story. As Conjesero learns of the involvement of Detective Kevin, he decides to concentrate on victims important to Kevin.

Detective Kevin has become recently famous for the arrest of a serial killer known as the Hail Mary Killer. He doesn’t appreciate the public attention; he is just a cop devoted to the job and the few friends he has. When he gets a call from Paul asking for help with a flat tire, he responds to the place where his friend should be to find him beaten and bleeding but not dead. After a few days in the hospital, Paul tells Kevin that he was attacked by a werewolf. Although Kevin does not believe it, subsequent to the attack on Paul there are several attacks of a gruesome nature on several unrelated individuals. There is no obvious motive; there is no connection between victims. Pathologists cannot make a determination of what attacked the victims. Guesses range across the spectrum of the animal kingdom; bears, wolves, dogs, snakes, fierce birds, and various forms of reptiles. Whatever it was, it was big. And it enjoys the carnage.

At times, this novel appeared to be a collection of unrelated short stories. There is a story of high school bullying and gang warfare. There is a story about the careers of cops. There is a struggling single parent family story. There are some horrible graphic descriptions of murders that seem to be unrelated from a victim perspective. I found the pacing of the book a bit slow when it came to tying everything together. Although the plot lines were interesting, I occasionally had time to wonder about how the author was going to relate the individual events into a larger context.

Alves tied everything together in a larger supernatural killer context. Can Detective Kevin get his colleagues to believe him? And if the killer is a supernatural killer, how do you kill or stop it?

There are a few typographical errors where adjectives become adverbs. A reader’s eye stops at these. I only found a couple of these errors but they were annoying enough that I recommend another run through the editing process.

Graphic descriptions of the killings could be disturbing to the general reader but fans of supernatural horror fiction will take these descriptions in stride. On an Amazon scale, I would give it 3.5 stars but I don’t know how to do that so I will err on the side of generosity and give it four stars on Amazon.

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