Mannheim Rex. Finished 2-20-13, rating 3.5/5, 501 pages, pub. 2012
Recently widowered and grieving, Gavin flees New York City for the quiet of the country. His new home on Lake Caldasac has surprisingly few visitors, and the author soon learns why: a suspiciously high number of people have gone missing in the small town. The deaths have all been ruled accidents, but Finn Horn, a handicapped boy obsessed with fishing, knows the truth. There’s a monster in the lake. And it wants to feed. Thirteen-year-old Finn, who is dying of cancer, has only one last wish: to go down in the record books for catching a real-life monster. Battling demons of his own, Gavin joins Finn on his perilous quest to slay the nightmarish leviathan. An homage to the blockbuster Jaws and the classic American novel Moby-Dick, Mannheim Rex is a deep dark thriller that switches seamlessly between heartwarming friendship and heart-stopping action.
I loved Pobi’s debut thriller, Bloodman, so I eagerly said yes when offered his newest book even if was about fishing, of which I have no interest. I’ve never read Moby Dick or Jaws, but the movie Jaws did make me view the beach differently in my youth, and the comparisons between those two books and this one are fair, at least to a point. This is a story about a monster in the lake, but I found the characters themselves and their bond much more interesting than the fishing aspect. Gavin is a fictional Stephen King, of sorts, and when his wife is killed he loses his mind and moves to this small lake town in New York. He meets Finn, a handicapped 13 year-old and the two from a special friendship. He also meets Dr. Laurel who is quite a bit older than his 37 years, but the two have a spark, a connection, right from the start. I liked the pseudo family they formed.
I thought some of the lake scenes dragged a bit and I very much disliked the last two pages. Do yourself a favor and skip them altogether. This was a complete departure from his thriller, Bloodman, and it’s solid, if not exactly what I was expecting. There was blood and guts, but mostly there was a lot of heart. I will be waiting in anticipation for Pobi’s next release.
So, for the giveaway, Cara at Wunderkind PR, has graciously offered a free copy to one lucky winner. If you would like to be entered just leave me a comment with a way to reach you if you win. If you want an extra entry post this on Facebook or post it on Twitter. Gage will draw a winner on March 2nd.