I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by Random House Publishing Group on April 28th 2015
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For fans of Jim Butcher and Kevin Hearne comes an action-packed new urban fantasy series featuring a tough, bleakly funny, down-on-his luck oil rig worker with an unlikely destiny as a monster-slayer and savior of the planet. “Monsters,” said Vince Martinelli. “There are monsters on the rig, Dave.” Dave Hooper has a hangover from hell, a horrible ex-wife, and the fangs of the IRS deep in his side. The last thing he needs is an explosion at work. A real explosion. On his off-shore oil rig. But this is no accident, and despite the news reports, Dave knows that terrorists aren’t to blame. He knows because he killed one of the things responsible. When he wakes up in a hospital bed guarded by Navy SEALs, he realizes this is more than just a bad acid trip. Yeah, Dave’s had a few. This trip is way weirder. Killing a seven-foot-tall, tattooed demon has transformed the overweight, balding safety manager into something else entirely. A foul-mouthed, beer-loving monster slayer, and humanity’s least worthy Champion.From the Paperback edition.
Dave is your average, middle aged, balding, hard working man. He loves hookers, his booze and his blow. Okay, maybe he isn’t average. He has his issues, but he’s not a bad guy. Really. He’s just had some down luck the last few years, but he’s going to fix it once he gets his next big paycheck. The IRS? He’ll pay them back! The child support payment? It’s coming along! Just a few more days!
Even his coworkers adore him:
Dave, as she never tired of pointing out, was an exemplar – she used the actual work, too, having read it in one of those undreadable werewolf romances she immersed herself in between flights – Dave was an exemplar extra-fucking-ordinaire of why a woman like her, a woman of independent means and good breeding hips, had to be careful. Men who weren’t to be found in the blessed state of being other women’s husbands were generally deserving of their wretched and benighted state by way of being..
“What?” croaked Dave, who’d drifted off into a hangover haze for just a moment.
“Completely unmarriageable assholes, Dave. Such as yourself. World is full of them, I said. All trying to get at my good breeding hips and my 401(k).”
Did I mention his coworkers were just as classy?
Our hero may not be cookie cutter, but he certainly does the job when creatures steal on to his oil rig with intent to kill. After dispatching the ring leader, waking up in a hospital where soldiers await to whisk him off on a not-vacation..Dave continues to be the “exemplar” of a man who can’t quite get his life together – even when he’s in the middle of an incredible adventure.
My favourite part of this book is how it doesn’t take itself seriously. The humor, wit and sarcasm make a story that would be sickeningly routine and dull into something fun for long time fantasy readers. Brimingham brings the action as well, developing a warrior race – the horde.
Scaroth brought FoeSunder up and flowed into a killing stance. The point of the blade glinted high above Dave’s head before rushing down with terrible speed.
Dave dropped down to his right knee with Lucille above his head, blocking the first blow, half expecting Scaroth’s blade to slice straight through the wooden handle. But the enchanted hardwood held, the blow landing with a giant clang. Holding the Hunn’s blade, he pushed up with his right hand, using the maul’s head to drive the blade off to his left. Coiled tightly, Dave’s legs launched him into Scaroth’s midsection, knocking the BattleMaster off his feet. He rolled over the snapping fangs and hot froth to land on his feet a couple of yards away.
They circled each other one step at a time, shieldwise. Helicopters, hammering overhead, focused their searchlights on the action, driving the remnants of the Horde away from the two combatants.
“I will feast on you this day,” Scaroth said, lunging toward Dave. “The little champion’s blood will make a fine aperitif before I feed on your nestlings.”
“They have aperitifs in Monsterland? Man, you guys have changed. It used to be all about the skulls full of bloodwine.”
To be fair, much of the novel feels like a movie with the action sequences, the girl and the snappy dialogue which could be really annoying if you aren’t in the mood. Dave vs the Monsters fills a niche that is very poorly furnished. Brimingham is Pratchett but less alternate reality and more United States of America.
So, if there’s something strange in your neighbourhood who are you going to call? Probably not Dave, but he will be there anyway.
This book would appeal to readers who enjoy action/adventure, paranormal, fantasy and a hero who isn’t your average hero. High risk of humour, frightening monsters and lippy dialogue. For those who need less serious in their reads.