When I watch Frankenstein, the misery and longing in Boris Karloff’s eyes make me ache for the mute monster. Though it’s difficult to tell just how much the creature understands, he knows that a chasm separates him from the rest of humanity. And while Dr. Frankenstein claimed to be on a quest for knowledge, what really filled his mind beyond overwhelming pride and ambition?
Reading Mary Shelley’s masterpiece answers my questions. The doctor’s creature is both intelligent and articulate. Frankenstein, consumed by guilt and revulsion, abandons his creation, and they flee across Europe and into the Arctic as the monster seeks revenge.
Dave Zeltserman’s Monster is an ingenious interpretation of Shelley’s tale. Friedrich Hoffmann is framed and executed for the brutal murder of his fiancée, only to waken in captivity. His brain has been placed into a hulking patchwork of corpse-bits, but Hoffmann’s mind and memories remain intact. He hides his intellect until he manages to escape, but a spell placed upon Hoffmann by his creator compels him to return to Dr. Frankenstein’s sinister castle.
There is nothing benign about Zeltserman’s Dr. Frankenstein – in fact, he sometimes collaborates with the Marquis de Sade. It won’t take readers long to figure out who is human and which are the monsters in Zeltserman’s work.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, though when I recommend it, I will caution squeamish readers. Dave Zeltserman’s highly readable style harmonizes beautifully with its 19th century European setting. Monster is a must-read for anyone who enjoys horror stories, and shivers when Boris Karloff’s pale fingers twitch back into life.