Sunday, August 3, 2014

Review: "Monster's Chef" by Jervey Tervalon

All in all, Jervey Tervalon’s novel Monster’s Chef is a really pleasant surprise, although most of what happens in the novel is anything but pleasant. I picked this up on a whim at the library and found a lot of it to be quite good, even if sometimes it back away from some of the book’s harsher moments. It feels like a short, swift noir piece that is filled with intrigue, but never really seems to pay anything off. That isn’t to say that this book isn’t good at all. I found some of the scenes to be quite eerie, especially when it is mixed with a somewhat harmless plot. It creates a lot of tension and a weirdly Lynchian atmosphere of the normal and the grotesque. Even if the book was not as good as I thought it should have been, those scenes still gave me the creeps. The focus of the novel is on a man named Gibson, who was once a prominent chef in New York City, but after a freak drug bust uncovered his addiction, he is without a job or his beautiful wife Elena. After losing everything, he takes a job as the personal chef of music mogul Monster, whose mysterious nature is only dwarfed by his unconscious cruelty towards others. He has a mute wife no one is allowed to talk to and guards that seem to carry out his every cruel deed. When the body of a young boy is found on Monster’s labyrinthine property, a series of events uncovers the music mogul’s nefarious activities. The scenes involving Thug, Monster’s bodyguard, are the creepiest; acting again like brute in a David Lynch movie whose sole purpose is to carry out evil. But it is never as shocking or derailing as the build-up makes it out to be, wrapping things up with a bit of a cop-out ending. Still, this book is worth your time if you want something a little different.

Rating: 4/5

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