Tuesday, May 15, 2012

On Brats: A Review of Symphony of Blood by Adam Pepper

When I started this book, I knew two things: It was supposed to be horror/urban fantasy, and the main character was a PI. The first made me optimistic, because I love urban fantasy and I love a little blood and gore. The second made me weary because I am not by any means a mystery fan, and I tend to grade mysteries very harshly.

Hank Mondale is a private investigator in dire straights. His gambling addiction and poor management skills have put him in the kind of debt that could threaten his life. So, when a rich man hires him to investigate a case in which his daughter is being harassed by some unknown "creature", he takes the job. Hank assumes that the daughter is truly insane and/or on drugs (she is), and that the creature cannot possibly be real (it is).

Positive Comments:

The book had great set up. We learn that Hank is something of a screw-up, which is perfectly fine by me. I live to sympathize with screw-ups, provided they have other likeable qualities or get on the road to redemption at some point. The investigation surrounding the creature was interesting, because even though I'm not a mystery fan, I like to see fictional characters murdered in interesting ways. I'm messed up like that.

The monster was oddly appealing. I enjoyed learning about it's nature and it's dark, messed up thoughts.

Critical Comments:

The story started to break down for me as soon as we were introduced to Mackenzie, the rich guy's daughter. She's a brat of colossal proportions. She's an idiot. She is selfish. She has no morals. She clearly, clearly deserves to die horribly. If her life being on the line was supposed to alarm me, it didn't. I wanted her dead.

Furthermore, I never felt like I did find or connect with Hank's sympathetic side. There's no meaningful character development. There's no meaningful anything with this character. He exists, he does things, he survives. Good for him, but I need more than that to get me through a story.


You have to like horror, and you can't expect much in the way of depth. It's a semi-interesting, shallow horror story. I can't say I'd strongly recommend it, but I don't warn against it either. 2.5 stars.

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