Matt Hayward’s What Do Monsters Fear? hit all the right horror buttons for this reader. I’ve become a little desensitized with reading horror recently to the point where I considered taking a long break from it. I’m glad I didn’t, instead I started reading this novel from Matt Hayward, published by Post Mortem Press. There are a few things that I really liked about this book. Firstly, it is pretty lean for a novel, in terms of length. It doesn’t get bogged down with exposition, meaning the pace is fast. The cast is small and developed well-enough for you to continue to invest your time in them. After a quite bonkers opening few pages, the characters are introduced. Rocker, Peter Laughlin is an alcoholic, a man looking at drawing the curtains on not only his career but also his life. Things change when he finds out he is soon to become a father. Laughlin seeks redemption and enrolls himself at a rehabilitation clinic-an old farm-house in outback Pennsylvania. Along with a few other guests-each battling their own demons-Laughlin and co soon find that all is not as it seems and that councilor, Jerry Fisher has been dabbling in the dark arts, awakening old gods that live off of fear.
Hayward’s tale of addiction is top draw. Whilst the first half of the book is very good, the latter half is excellent. Things get gruesome very quickly as the patrons become locked in a fight for survival. Hayward turns the horror all the way up to eleven with some stomach-churning scenes that feature snapping bones and steaming piles of soggy, limp flesh. There is even a giant mutated cat!! Nothing really prepares you for the second half of the book and the appearance of Phobos (the evil God of fear) proves a masterstroke.
The writing is very easy to digest and although the book does have a kind of throwback 80s horror feel to it I absolutely loved it. So many horror novels from the 80s got bogged down with being far too long. Hayward keeps it lean and tight delivering the gore in spectacular fashion. If you yearn for the days of Tales From The Crypt and love movies like Demons, Fright Night, then What Do Monsters Fear? should be right at the top of your reading list. Huge fun and exactly what I wanted to read.
5/5 mutated cats from the Grim Reader.
Pick up a copy from here.