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  • Michael Braccia

Book review - 'Real Monsters' (Liam Brown)

Updated: Aug 4, 2019

In his author questionnaire at the end of the book, Liam Brown tells us that ‘Danny’s head was a pretty horrendous place to spend any amount of time.’ I can understand that. From the first few lines of the novel we are confronted by an aggressive, opinionated, macho young man who would be quite happy to go off to war with the intention of killing those of a different creed or colour in the name of defending the western world. This, Danny would attempt, while at the same time treating his wife like scum.

To avoid too many spoilers, I think it’s safe to say that the letter he is writing to his son is inspired. Throughout the novel, Liam manages to keep the narrative going, with Danny keeping the dialogue with his yet to be born child. The regular change of voice between Danny and Lorna is clever, keeping the story going between ‘home’ and the desert.

At first I found the writing style rather rough, but quickly realised it had to be. This was Danny talking (interspersed with Lorna’s innermost thoughts) and Liam let the character run to carry out despicable deeds. A difficult book to write (I would not be capable of writing such a book) and not easy for some people to read. However, Liam deserves enormous credit for his achievement. He had a story to tell, and he told it. Amazing effort for a debut novel.

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