The Monsters we Make
The Monsters We Make begins on a summer morning in July 1982. Matthew Klein, a young boy delivering the newspaper down his street, suddenly disappeared. The only thing that remained was his wagon full of undelivered newspapers. The story then skips two years into the future where we meet Sam Cox, a twelve-year-old delivering newspapers near the area where Matthew Klein was abducted two years prior. On his paper route, Sam was attacked by a regular assailant and hides in a church. When the coast is clear, he was able to escape home through an alternate path. Unbeknownst to Sam as he runs home, another kidnapping occurs just blocks away from Sam’s current location.
At home, Crystal Cox, Sam’s older sister hears police chatter over a police scanner in the house reporting a kidnapping. Fueled by journalistic curiosity, Crystal makes her way towards the scene of the crime, partly to find her little brother and partly to investigate for a news story for her school paper.
Sergeant Dale Goodkind was working the night shift and was waiting to be relived from duty by a fellow officer. Before the other officer could relieve Goodkind of his duties, Goodkind was tasked with the case of the kidnapped child, much like the unsolved Klein case Goodklind worked two years ago.
This is the story of a community and the hidden monsters within this respectful community.
The Monsters we Make by Kali White contains three main characters:
Sammy Cox is a young paper-boy. He is a scared kid who became a misfit at school after spending a few weeks at home sick, putting on some weight in the process. As a result he doesn’t really have any friends.
Crystal Cox is Sammy’s older sister. She is super ambitious, and she has big dreams and goals. She loves investigative journalism, and wants to pursue it at the University of Miami. She is a senior with quite a bit on her plate.
Dale Goodkind is a sergeant with the Des Moines Police Department. He was in charge of the Matt Klein case, and he is the sergeant assigned to the Chris Stewart case as well. He is a reserved man with a good heart, but his past clouds his judgment. His past experiences have worn down his mental state.
I really enjoyed this book. It’s fairly short, just shy of 300 pages, and it moves along pretty quickly. The characters are very unique, and its super easy to sympathize with Dale and Sammy. It is considered a thriller/mystery, and I really enjoyed the depth of this mystery. Even with about 60 pages left, I was still confused about what was going to happen in the end, with multiple endings in mind. Kali White does a fantastic job of keeping the ending in suspense until the last possible moment, leaving the reader with the opportunity to speculate their own ending. I had an ending built in my head that I was pretty certain of, and I was not even close.
The plot grabs your attention from the very beginning, with a strong opening hook in the form of the first chapter, and it hangs on tight. The emotional ups and downs make this a very difficult book to put down, especially once you get over 1/3 of the book. The characters are developed at this point, and the stage has been set for an eerily realistic mystery to unfold.This mystery, built on true crimes, is eery and will chill you to the bone. The fact that it feels like it could happen to anyone, in any neighbourhood, makes it even more interesting and a little more terrifying.
This is a great book to pick up just in time to follow up the halloween season. It is an entertaining book, one that you will read very, very quickly. I really enjoyed this book, and it is definitely worth your time.
The Monsters We Make is an interesting crime story based on real life events. Overall, this story was a compelling read that got me turning the pages to find out what happens next. The author bases each chapter on times after the kidnapping of Christopher Stewart, which I found to be a creative way to name chapters and provided a timeline for the events. I also really enjoyed the realness of each character. Although the characters were fictional, the interactions and outbursts felt real and left an impact. Each word spoken left a distinct mark. Another great aspect of the story was the pacing. Besides the beginning of the book where it was a bit slow, passing the first few chapters rewards you with a page turner of a novel that keeps you entranced in its pages. Being a mystery novel, the author leaves many clues for the reader to attempt to solve the mystery alongside the characters within the story. The clues were placed with such precision that it felt like the deliberate strokes of an artist on a blank canvas. The end reveal of the suspects of the story was done skillfully as well, and each clue within the novel was solved.
The only main problem with this novel was the slow beginning. It took a bit of time and effort to get engaged with the story. However, once getting over that bump, the book was a real treat to read.
All in all, this was a very enjoyable novel. I would recommend it to anyone into mysteries or even those new to the mystery genre in general.
The Monsters we Make is a dark, disturbing, and thrilling novel that I loved every minute of. This book moves at a very fast pace and there are many plot points thrown at you from the very start. The novel does a terrific job at foreshadowing future events that come to play later and weaving the characters story lines so they have connections. The book fits nicely in the crime genre but the added bonus of having many of the crimes be based of a true crimes adds to the drama and makes it feel all the more real. The novel’s narrative grabs you and never lets you go.
One of the first things I liked from the beginning was the use of three different perspectives. Though I have read many books that have multiple perspective characters it was interesting how it was used inside of this book. Each character has a very unique perspective with the biggest difference between the three being the age range. Sammy Cox, Crystal Cox, and Sergeant Dale Goodkind each have distinct and unique perspectives that give us different pieces of the story with all three having different pieces that together would create the whole. Each character adds to the story in a meaningful and interesting way and throughout I was hoping that all three would make it out all right from the mess of the crime. Another part of the novel that I enjoyed was the story itself, of course being based on true events helps make it feel more frightening but author Kali White crafts a deeply disturbing plot that was not hard to follow but has its complex moments and made me feel a need to continue what I was reading. The structure was also well done with multiple instances where right before something big is about to be revealed we flash to another perspective which only builds the suspense of the story.
This story will stay with me for many reasons but one of the big reasons is the truth behind its message. Now it isn’t like a big preachy message or anything but the message is int the title “the monsters we make” the story explores how criminals and these terrible people are not fictional monsters but just everyday people that could be living in our cities. It’s not something new per say but it’s not something I have thought about to often and it has since stayed with me. Sometimes when something stays with me it isn’t a positive but, in this case, I would definitely consider it just a well thought out and presented idea within the novel.
All in all this was a fantastic and thrilling book that had me flipping the page eager to continue but fearful of what was to come. I highly recommend.
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White, Kali. “The Monsters We Make: a Novel.” Amazon, Crooked Lane, 2020, www.amazon.com/Monsters-We-Make-Novel/dp/1643853880.