Real Monsters

Fiction - Mystery - Murder
Kindle Edition
Reviewed on 05/21/2019
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Maureen Dangarembizi for Readers' Favorite

Real Monsters by Brian Gallagher is a horror novel in its own league. When Frank Ort, a former resident of the Bohemian Forest, tells his great-grandson, Sean O’Shea, what he’d seen in his homeland, he has no idea the story would have far-reaching consequences in the future. Sean never forgot his great-grandfather’s story and now that he wants to write a new novel he is inspired to prove the existence of supernatural creatures like vampires and werewolves. Sean and his friends expect to find a basis for all the superstitions in Europe but not to actually find real monsters. Not only do they attract dangerous creatures of the night, but their presence in Europe attracts an old foe. Craig Breedlove has escaped Winnebago Mental Health Institute and has resumed murdering men of the cloth. On his way to the Vatican, Breedlove learns that his former captors are nearby.

It has been a long time since I read a horror story that surprised me and Real Monsters has done so in the best way possible. This story is not just horror but has splashes of romance, crime, and drama that give it a unique flavor. The fact that Brian Gallagher addresses the controversial topic of Catholic priest abuses and cover-ups makes for an interesting read. This was my favorite subplot. Depending on who is reading, the villain becomes something of a hero, an avenger of the innocents. It was so satisfying for the perpetrators to be punished, at least in this fictional story. Real Monsters also exposes some of the weaknesses in society that let wicked men continue to do evil acts without reprisal. This book is a must-read for fans of horror and conspiracy theory fiction like The DaVinci Code.

Ruffina Oserio

Real Monsters by Brian Gallagher spins a psychological thriller that gives readers chills. A writer who wants to prove that Eastern European superstitions are founded on truths undertakes an investigation which leads him into darkness far worse than anything he’d imagined. A dangerous psychopath escapes from the Winnebago Mental Health Institution and is out to accomplish revenge that has been long overdue —punish the enablers of pedophile priests. His targets are mostly bishops and cardinals, for why have they remained unpunished in spite of the sexual crimes committed by their priests? This time he is about to take his work to a higher level, and he makes sure that there is no connection between what he is about to do and his former handiwork.

The story covers two plot points and moves between different timelines, with the experience of writer Sean O’Shea and a curious conversation with Grandpa when he is still a very young boy. And there is Craig, a hardened killer who wants to outdo the work of well-known serial killers of all time by his handiwork, a character with an abusive sexual relationship in the past. Memories of the pedophile priest, their family priest, still haunt him. The author plunges readers into the depths of the dark soul of a sociopath and again moves them into strange paths with vampires and creatures of legend. Real Monsters is a gripping, pulsating narrative that puts the reader on the edge of their seat and has them following the characters, unsure of what could happen next. Brian Gallagher’s writing captivated me from the very first line and kept me reading from page to page.

K.C. Finn

Real Monsters is an engaging work of murder mystery fiction penned by author Brian Gallagher. Our central character is thriller author Sean O’Shea, whose next bout of inspiration urges him to explore the vampiric legacy of Eastern Europe, exploring the factual origins from whence the legends came. Unfortunately, his research journey will see him cross paths with Craig Breedlove, an insane serial killer who has recently escaped containment with religious targets in mind. As the real world scandals of corruption and pedophilia collide with the dark and fantastical world of vampires, Sean O’Shea will have trouble distinguishing the true nature of evil as he writes the most thrilling book of his life.

Psychological and considerable, Real Monsters is largely a slow-burning thriller mystery crossover with much to digest. Fans willing to put in the time will grow with Sean O’Shea on his harrowing journey of discovery, from the personal connections and horrors of his past to the macabre terrors of his immediate future. Author Brian Gallagher gives a richness to every detail of this well-paced novel, taking the time to unveil each character and idea so that the reader can draw their own conclusions as they go along. The in-depth plot has a lot to say about forms of justice, childhood trauma, abuse and the real definition of what monsters are, which makes for a successful read that stays with you long after you close the back cover. Overall, Real Monsters is a highly recommended read for those who like to slowly digest a mystery full of atmosphere and real-world issues.

Peggy Jo Wipf

Real Monsters is a gem for paranormal readers as Brian Gallagher continues what he started in his other novels; The Vatican Protocol, Serial K, and Serial K Returns. This thriller follows the life of Sean O’Shea, an author who is trying to validate werewolves and vampires for his new book. At the same time, the story covers the life of Craig Breedlove, aka Terry Ellis, who escaped from a mental prison. Ellis continues seeking justice for the victims of the Catholic church leaders. Both characters end up in Europe, keeping the reader in suspense as to if and when they will meet up again. Then there is the factor that all these questions about Shapeshifters are getting the attention of a secret nation that wishes to remain hidden.
Brian Gallagher is in his element writing paranormal thrillers. The cover of Real Monsters hints at the eerie and spine-chilling tale within its pages. Monsters come in many shapes and sizes. As Sean seeks answers about supernatural monsters, Ellis wants vengeance for mankind's monsters. I love how Brian Gallagher ties his books and characters together. FBI Agents Lea Pucci and Ryan O’Callahan are seen again and bring about their own set of trials and entertainment. Interesting touch with the author, Sean O’Shea, finding factual information about Shapeshifters and being unable to print the truth because who would believe it. This gives the reader an alarming suspicion that just a bit of this novel is true, causing you to doubt that vampires and werewolves are fictional. This thrilling novel ends with a promise that we will see Craig Breedlove again in another book.

Romuald Dzemo

Real Monsters by Brian Gallagher is a compelling crime thriller featuring a serial killer, a vendetta against pedophile priests and their enablers and vampires. Author Sean O’Shea decides to investigate the origins of Eastern European superstition as he prepares to write his new thriller. He wants to prove that it is based on actual events, but he isn’t prepared for what awaits him. In the subplot, a serial killer, Craig Breedlove, escapes from the mental institution where he has been incarcerated. And this time, he has a new set of targets in mind—enablers of pedophile priests. In the past, he has killed priests and each time he always left some clue, something like the carving of “A” in some part of the body to signify Avenger and cutting some part of the body. He has a design for his new killing spree, and he has always been inspired by the great serial killers of all time. Will he execute his plans?

Brian Gallagher is a wonderful storyteller who plunges readers into the minds of the characters. The narrative has strong psychological and moral implications. The prose is gorgeous and I enjoyed the vivid descriptions. The gift for character is exemplified in this story and the serial killer is multi-dimensional. The author allows the streams of consciousness to fill in the gaps between the backstory and the plot, which allows for a smooth read. Real Monsters is a wonderful read and it is interesting to see how the author makes readers have sympathy even for a despicable serial killer, the Avenger. The themes are very relevant, especially now that there is so much talk about the sexual crimes committed by priests and bishops. There is no way the reader can put down this engaging narrative written in fluid prose.