Edward M. Erdelac's Monstrumführer was published by Comet Press in January 2017.
Information about Edward M. Erdelac:
Edward M. Erdelac is the author of the acclaimed Judeocentric/Lovecraftian weird western series Merkabah Rider, Buff Tea from Texas Review Press, Coyote's Trail from Comet Press, Terovolas from JournalStone Publishing, and Andersonville from Random House/Hydra. His fiction has appeared in DEADCORE, Corrupts Absolutely?, Danse Macabre from EDGE Publishing, Murky Depths Magazine, Kaiju Rising, World War Cthulhu, the Stoker Award winning After Death, and in the pages of Star Wars Insider magazine among others.
Born in Indiana, educated in Chicago, he lives in the Los Angeles area with his wife and a bona fide slew of kids and cats.
Click here to visit his official website.
Information about Monstrumführer:
In 1936 Dr. Josef Mengele discovers Victor Frankenstein's lab journal in the attic of an Ingolstadt dormitory and is tasked by the Reich Institute with replicating his reanimation procedure.
While hiding in a bookstore in Warsaw, a pair of Jewish twin brothers, Jotham and Eli Podczaski, come across the letters of Captain Walton to his sister, detailing the ill-fated story of Frankenstein.
When Jotham and Eli are captured by the Gestapo and encounter Mengele in the gray confines of Auschwitz KZ, they alone recognize the origin of his bizarre, sadistic experiments. Jotham hatches a plan to escape the camp and travel north, to find the only being capable of stopping Mengele from providing the Third Reich with a new race of undying stormtroopers; the only being on earth who will believe them... Frankenstein's original creature.
A REVIEW OF EDWARD M. ERDELAC'S MONSTRUMFÜHRER
Edward M. Erdelac's Monstrumführer is a dark adventure for horror connoisseurs who love stories that differ from mainstream stories. It's a satisfyingly grim novel that combines history, pulp elements, dark fantasy and horror elements in a fresh way, because the author spices up the story with action and touches upon themes of survival, isolation, vengeance and exploitation.
In less capable hands Monstrumführer could have easily become an average monster mash-up with wartime horrors, but Edward M. Erdelac knows what he's doing and delivers a memorable story that has style and substance. Monstrumführer is a stunning blend of Nazi medical horrors and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein with a faint touch of Anne Frank's The Diary of a Young Girl (The Diary of Anne Frank). The author effectively combines different elements and creates a dark and captivating story for horror readers.
Because the synopsis of this novel reveals quite a lot of information about the story, I won't go into details about the happenings. I'll only briefly mention that Monstrumführer is a story about Jewish twin brothers, Jotham and Eli Podczaski, who encounter the dreaded Dr. Josef Mengele, who is infamous for his sadistic medical experiments, and find out about the origin of his experiments.
The characterisation works well, because the author writes fluently about the characters and what happens to them. Jotham and Eli Podczaski are realistic and well-created characters. Although they're twin brothers and alike in form, they have different interests, likes and dislikes. They share an interest in only a few things. The author's vision of their hiding in a bookstore felt realistic, because they were boys who tried to survive in a hostile environment.
I consider the Creature to be a unique and well-created character. The author succeeds in making the Creature a fascinating being who lives in isolation in the cold northern wastes. His portrayal of the Creature will intrigue readers who are familiar with Mary Shelley's story.
The scenes between Jotham and the Creature are excellent. In my opinion, the dialogue in these scenes works well, because they've been written in a specific manner.
I liked the way the story began in 1936 in Ingolstadt, because the author wrote about how the young Dr. Josef Mengele visited an old friend of his family and was given old and valuable books, which contained alchemical and magical texts by old masters. One of these books was written by M. Victor Frankenstein.
One of the best things about this novel is that Edward M. Erdelac takes his time to set up things and doesn't rush with the story. I like his way of moving the story forward, because he tells what happens to the brothers and how Jotham seeks out Frankenstein's first creation, the Creature, so that Mengele's creations can be stopped.
The author's realistic vision of wartime atrocities and Nazi medical experiments is shockingly dark and disturbing. He doesn't sugarcoat anything, but leads his readers into the terrifying world of Nazi regime and medical horror. I'm sure that what Jotham and Eli witness at Auschwitz will linger on the readers' minds, because the author writes memorably about Mengele's disturbing medical experiments and what goes on at the death camp.
I found it intriguing that the author wrote about the folklore of the Sami and mentioned Stallo, which is a spirit from the Nether World (half-troll and half-man). I think that many readers will find the mention of the Stallo fascinating, because it is something that is not often seen in speculative fiction.
As an interesting piece of information I can mention that this novel has a brief mention of a book written by the mad Alhazred. I think that fans of Lovecraftian fiction will be delighted to spot this in the text. I'll also mention that - as a Finn - I found it interesting that the author used a bit of Finnish in the story.
Ever since reading the amazing Merkabah Rider novels, I've enjoyed Edward M. Erdelac's prose and writing style. Now that I've read Monstrumführer, I can say that he's one of the best authors of modern horror fiction, because he dares to write about things that are often left untouched by other authors and fluently blends harsh realism with speculative elements.
Before I finish this review, I think it's good to mention that the author is not easy on his readers. Some of the scenes are unpleasant and may evoke feelings of discomfort and unease in those who are easily shocked.
Edward M. Erdelac's Monstrumführer should be on every horror fan's reading list, because it stands out among modern horror novels by being something different and captivatingly dark. It's a well written novel that will fascinate many horror readers.
Excellent horror fiction!