Winner 2011 Bill Fisher Award Best First Book – Fiction. In his first novel, veteran screenwriter S. S. Wilson offers up a rollicking adventure in which wide-eyed Whitney learns about werewolves, mummies, ghosts, and even meets a mad scientist. On a more subtle level, Wilson also pokes ample fun at classic horror movie clichés as he careens toward an unexpected (and Hollywood sized) climax. More
Publishers Weekly Review
In this rip-roaring portrait of a man with the money, recklessness, and the tenacity to pursue his single-minded goal of discovering a live dinosaur in the year 1903, mild-mannered scientist Gerard Whitney answers a job ad only to find himself working for wealthy eccentric Harold B. Tucker on his Oklahoma ranch. Most days, Whitney is free to work on his scientific classifications, but when Tucker receives reports of hauntings, monster sightings, or other unexplained activity, Whitney must accompany him on his investigations. Sparing no expense, Tucker, his helpers, and his vast collection of firearms travel to Louisiana, Vermont, and ultimately to Venezuela, and neither Whitney nor Jenny, the Cherokee woman who is Tucker's wife and dinosaur-hunting partner, can persuade him out of threatening and bullying locals and even devastating ecosystems in pursuit of his impossible quarry. That both Tucker's companions and the novel's readers are inclined to forgive the manipulative, volatile dinosaur hunter is a testament to the author's character building. For all his gruffness and his power, Tucker is a man compelled by a tragically unrealizeable dream, and the pathos of his situation is clear. Tense action scenes, including a particularly memorable haunted house, keep the pace moving at a brisk clip. A heartfelt and well-realized tall tale.
Tucker's Monster deliberately harks back to the style those classic adventure tales. Set in 1903, it chronicles the adventures of young zoologist Gerard Whitney when he is hired by wealthy, eccentric cattle rancher, Harold B Tucker. He is soon caught up in Tucker's true passion, searching the world for legendary creatures, with the ultimate goal of discovering a live dinosaur. As they embark on one wild and dangerous adventure after another, wide-eyed Whitney learns about werewolves, mummies, ghosts, and even meets a mad scientist. Whitney is sure Tucker will never succeed. But what they eventually discover exceeds both men’s wildest dreams — and nightmares. On a more subtle level, Wilson also pokes ample fun at classic horror movie clichés.
While the prose is light-hearted and the action lively and sometimes tense, the novel also explores the darker side of Tucker’s obsession. Disappointed time and again in his lifelong goal, he becomes increasingly desperate, and his methods increasingly extreme. Unable to sway Tucker from this path, Whitney has sadly decided to quit his job when a major twist plunges them into an unexpected (and Hollywood sized) climax.