The Horror Zine Review
Aleric: Monster Hunter
by Fred Wiehe
|Hardcover: 334 pages
Publisher: Gauthier Publications (September 24, 2011)
Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 5.8 x 1 inches
Aleric: Monster Hunter
by Fred Wiehe
Review by Jeani Rector
Novels about zombies or about vampires seem to be everywhere these days. What makes Aleric: Monster Hunter different is this novel has both. Plus, the hero of the book, Aleric, is a Gypsy Rom, placing a nice twist into the character development.
Writing about Gypsies can be handled well or poorly, depending upon the research and/or exposure to their culture by the writer. Fortunately, author Fred Wiehe authentically captures the essence of Gypsy behavior, even to go as far as to insert phrases of their native tongue. I was not always as impressed by the idea that Wiehe felt he needed to translate immediately afterwards, word-for-word. I think perhaps a better effect would have to let the reader have an idea of the meaning by Aleric's reaction, and not always have him parrot the translations.
That said, it is a minor complaint when compared to the over-all excitement of this book. Aleric is deeply in love with his wife, Jetta. The problem with that is, his wife has been a vampire for two hundred years. They keep their marriage alive because she visits him periodically for sexual encounters. That has worked well....until Aleric meets another Gypsy named Pearsa, who is mortal, beautiful, and available. When Jetta finds out, she is overcome with jealousy and seeks to retrieve her husband out of Pearsa's clutches, never minding the fact that she also has a lover, another vampire.
Meanwhile, Aleric continues his quests as a monster hunter in San Francisco, coming to the aid of Wasso, who is a zombie in need. The descriptions of this famous city as Aleric travels through it are sparse, creating a missed opportunity for the feeling of the locale. If Wiehe has slowed down and included scenes of what Aleric had seen as he patrolled the streets of San Francisco, it would have added a nice dimension to the narrative.
Still, for those who love vampire yarns, Aleric: Monster Hunter delivers. For those who love gruesome zombie stories, parts of Aleric: Monster Hunter meets those needs as well, as witnessed by this passage: "Black zombie oil, decomposed flesh, putrefied brain matter, and dead maggots sprayed back at him like returned fire."
As I said earlier, the descriptions of Gypsy life are very authentic in this book, which is interesting in itself. Wiehe delivers a fascinating and realistic account of a culture frequently overlooked in fiction. Wiehe writes the positives and negatives of the Gypsies, including Pearsa's con games to part her victims from their money. Wiehe tells the truth about Gypsies, and that makes the plot very convincing. All of this adds to the feeling that Aleric: Monster Hunter is a very unique and unusual book.
Aleric: Monster Hunter never lacks for excitement. There are always adventures and pursuits by the King of the Gypsies who want to stop Aleric's quests. Aleric himself is a complicated character, driven and moody, but deep and well-written.
If penned by a less competent author, Aleric: Monster Hunter could have wound up "over the top" because it crosses into so many different types of monsters. In lesser hands, the book could have come across as "trying too hard." But Fred Wiehe delivers a smooth, believable account of a troubled man on a mission. Wiehe's Aleric is a convincing character, and the types of monsters that Aleric seeks makes us glad to be a voyeur of his adventures. Aleric: Monster Hunter is one thrill-ride of a monster mash.
You can buy Aleric: Monster Hunter HERE.
About the author
Fred Wiehe is a Writing Instructor, as well as a professional writer. He's a member of the Horror Writers Association, yet his novels and stories crossover many genres. His screenplay Freak House (story by Fred & Dave Reda of Elftwin Films, written by Fred) was recently optioned by a Hollywood production company. He has a collection of short stories for tweens, teens, and adults entitled Holiday Madness: 13 Dark Tales for Halloween, Christmas, and All Occasions. Besides Aleric: Monster Hunter, his adult novels include the supernatural crime thriller Strange Days, the science fiction novel Starkville, the horror/suspense novel Night Songs, and the dark fantasy novel The Burning. His short story Trick or Treat; It's the Puppet People was published in the 2007 Halloween edition of Sinister Tales Magazine, his short story Trick or Troll was published in the 2008 Halloween edition of ShadeWorks, his short story Creeper was published in The Ethereal Gazette, Issue #12, in October 2010, and his short story Predator & Prey will be published in the anthology Slices of Flesh in March of 2012. Fred's biography has been included in the 2005 edition of Who's Who in America and the 2006 edition of Who's Who in the World. Visit him online at http://www.fredwiehe.com or at http://www.facebook.com/fred.wiehe.
About the reviewer
While most people go to Disneyland while in Southern California, Jeani Rector went to the Fangoria Weekend of Horror there instead. She grew up watching the Bob Wilkins Creature Feature on television and lived in a house that had the walls covered with framed Universal Monsters posters. It is all in good fun and actually, most people who know Jeani personally are of the opinion that she is a very normal person. She just writes abnormal stories. Doesn’t everybody?
Jeani Rector is the founder and editor of The Horror Zine and has had her stories featured in magazines such as Aphelion, Midnight Street, Strange Weird and Wonderful, Macabre Cadaver, Ax Wound, Horrormasters, Morbid Outlook, Horror in Words, Black Petals, 63Channels, Death Head Grin, Hackwriters, Bewildering Stories, Ultraverse, Story Mania, Lost Souls, All Destiny, and many others. Her book Around a Dark Corner was released in the USA on Graveyard Press in 2009.
You can learn about Jeani Rector HERE.