A Time for Monsters is a Nordic thriller in which a female serial killer, who only feels emotion when listening to music, is bent on revenge and must outwit a disgraced detective.
A Nordic thriller in the vein of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo meets Death Wish, in which a female serial killer, who only feels emotion when listening to music, is hell-bent on revenge and must outwit a disgraced detective determined to redeem himself if she is to complete her carefully orchestrated plan and cover up the ultimate secret.
ONLY A MONSTER CAN DO THE WRONG THINGS FOR THE RIGHT REASONS
Do you remember the first tape or CD you ever bought? Perhaps you waited for the local station to play the top forty songs on a Sunday so you could record your favorite band. Maybe you downloaded a certain track that reminded you of your wedding day or a graduation.
Reyna Blackburn remembers.
Every single song for every horrific event in her life. She remembers what song was playing on the radio the first time he hurt her. And she remembers what was playing through her headphones the first time she killed.
A Time for Monsters is told from alternating perspectives of a female serial killer and the cop hunting her. The narrative is also split into two timelines – one where the serial killer reflects on her abusive childhood and the present. While this may sound like a solid premise, it fell flat for me.
I would describe A Time for Monsters as a wanna-be Nordic noir. It is definitely not a thriller, and it is not really a mystery. The novel lacks any real tension to propel you through the story. There was twist at the end that I did not see coming; however, I found the logic behind the twist to be greatly flawed.
There is just something missing from A Time for Monsters that I cannot quite pinpoint. I would argue that the characters were not well-developed, although their backstories are a major component of the book. Neither character elicited an emotional response despite their experiences and opinions, which should have appalled and offended. As the synopsis mentioned, there is a lot of music mentioned throughout the story as the killer soundtracks her life and moods. While this seemed like a novel premise, I did not think it added to the story, and if anything, was a bit distracting.
One thing I did find annoying was that the author switched back and forth between a character’s first and last name. It was an odd choice that made things needlessly confusing initially. One other thing I want to mention that is a big pet peeve is the use of a mental illness as an adjective for someone who does not in fact suffer from that illness. In this case, Worthington describes a character as schizophrenic. I do not understand why editors allow this.
Overall, I found A Time for Monsters to be meh. I would probably recommend skipping it in favor of a stronger book.
A Time for Monsters
Mysteries & Thrillers
September 28, 2021
Note: I received an e-galley of this book from the publisher, Vesuvian Books. Regardless, I always provide a fair and honest review.