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Inspired by real-life horror, “Monsters We Have Made” explores the limits of love and the power stories have to shape our realities.

Monsters We Have Made

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In April 2008, a hiker called 911 to report a teen girl near death at Eno State Park in North Carolina. The girl, 16-year-old Brittany, survives. She was walking through the park with two 9-year-old girls, Faye and Anna, whom she was babysitting. So, who were the perpetrators? Faye and Anna stabbed Brittany to please a fictitious character called The Kingman.

Sound familiar?

True crime enthusiasts will recall the Slender Man stabbing in 2014.

Incorporating details from real life, writer Lindsay Starck builds a compelling and original story.

She didn’t plug in fictitious characters in a timeline of true events to exploit a real-life tragedy. Starck’s story is deep, multilayered, and complex. She explores society’s fascination with monsters, both real and imagined.

Faye’s mother, Sylvia, hasn’t seen Faye since her release from jail years ago. The police drop off Faye’s daughter, Amelia, after finding her abandoned in a parked car. Sylvia begins a search for Faye, which puts her in contact with her estranged husband and family.

Through flashbacks, Starck paints a vivid portrait of a couple torn apart by tragedy. 

Author Lindsay Starck

In the middle of the two is Faye, a child they waited a long time to have. They love and doted on Faye and cannot figure out what could have gone wrong.

The main mystery is why Faye abandoned Amelia and disappeared. The Kingman is an elusive figure who may or may not exist. Starck plants the seeds for these mysteries a takes her time unraveling them.

Starck peppers her prose with original similes and metaphors.  She weaves the characters’ reality, dreams, fantasies, and memories together. The effect is a dreamlike atmosphere, where shadows may be real or not.

Monsters We Have Made explores generational trauma and family dynamics; Stark dives deep to explore the monsters we make and the monsters we can become.

Overall Rating (Out of 5 Butterflies): 5
Lindsay Starck published her first novel, Noah’s Wife, in 2016.  Monsters We Have Made is her second novel. Besides writing, Starck is an editor and professor. You can preorder a copy of Monsters We Have Made (releasing March 26th) from Penguin Random House.  

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