Monster Story

Rated 4.27/5 based on 15 reviews
After years of self-imposed exile, Christy McCauley returns to West Virginia only to discover that her idyllic birthplace has become the hunting grounds for a savage beast stalking the hollows of rural Augusta County beneath the light of the full moon. More

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Words: 99,680
Language: English
ISBN: 9781452382708
About McCarty Griffin

McCarty Griffin lives with her husband, two children and several nonhuman family members. She is a transplanted hillbilly, born in Texas, but raised in the hollows and hills of West Virginia, where most of her works are set. She does not limit her creative efforts to any particular genre, although she does have a special love for horror, which she traces back to a childhood of Saturday nights eating Chef Boyardee pizza and watching Chiller Theatre with her mother. Before beginning her second life with her current husband, and settling in to raise her daughter and son, she served in the United States Army, went home to earn her undergraduate and law degrees, and then practiced criminal defense law for more than ten years. After half a lifetime spent doing everything but what she truly wanted to do, she finally just sat down and started writing, and she hasn’t stopped since.

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Review by: Coral Russell on Oct. 13, 2011 :
Listen/read the review here -
(reviewed 21 days after purchase)

Review by: Susan MomBlogger on Oct. 12, 2011 : (no rating)
Christy McCauley has returned to West Virginia at last, but her homecoming quickly turns into a surreal nightmare. In the deep hollows and woods of rural Augusta County, something unspeakable is slaughtering people in the dark of night. Authorities don't know if its human or animal, or how to stop it. Christy and her friends only know they must hunt it and destroy it, before it kills again.

My Review:
The action starts pretty much from the beginning of the book and continues all the way through. Clues are pretty easy to follow, and I figured out pretty quickly who the “Monster” was. Even though I could predict most of the story as I read along, I must confess that the ending was different than I expected. The author, McCarty Griffin, keeps the pages turning throughout the story and keeps the reader interested in what will happen in each chapter til the very end. I personally enjoyed reading the book, but was a bit let down with the ending. I felt it could have been done a bit better, but as I’m not a writer myself – I’m not sure how exactly that “better” could have been accomplished. Overall I give this a solid 4 out of 5. Great read!
(reviewed 4 months after purchase)

Review by: Kristin Aragon on Oct. 11, 2011 :
I don't typically read horror stories but I thought I would give Monster Story a try, I am truly glad I did. While Monster Story isn't exactly my type of book, I was drawn into the story and became invested in the character's outcome.

Christy is a young woman who has escaped the rural aspect of her home town only to be dropped back in the middle of a true nightmare.

Graemeis Christy's "city-boy" friend. He proves to be a true friend and stands by her side through bad...and well, worse. Living in the city has definitely not prepared him for country life.

Tess has been Christy's best friend since high school. She is now married to Deputy Sheriff David Maloney. David gets called to investigate what is initially believed to a wildlife incident but soon turns into a full-blown horror story.

Will Drummond works for the Department of Natural Resources and is called in to help with the nature problem?!?!

James is Christy's well-meaning dad. The loss of his mom has hit him hard and having Christy back is least for a bit.

While I did enjoy all of the characters, they all fell a little flat. They were your typical gun toting country boys and girls with the exception of Graeme who was the typical prissy city boy out of his setting. I didn't feel a sense of chemistry between any of the characters which caused the story to drag a bit. It is a bit difficult for me to bond with characters who don't bond with each other...good or bad. However, that being said, the more I read...the more I had to know what happened in the end.

The world that Monster Story is built around makes a known presence. I actually felt like I was in the backwoods of some far off nightmare. I could imagine running through caves and diving into lakes out of the sheer will to live. It increased the intensity and reality of the story for me.

The great parts of the story definitely outweighed the iffy parts. There were a few typo's and grammar errors that did not take away greatly from the story...just a tad bit of a nuisance.

I would definitely recommend Monster Story to anyone who enjoys horror stories.

* I received a free e-book of Monster Story from the author in exchange for my honest review.
(reviewed 30 days after purchase)

Review by: Donna Lawrence on Sep. 14, 2011 :
MY REVIEW: ******contains spoilers********
I must admit, I am not a huge fan of horror stories. This book sounded interesting therefore I thought I would try it. I'm glad I did. I really enjoyed this book. Some of the more grisly descriptions of ripped up body parts had me closing my eyes and shuddering, however, overall, a great story. I loved the way the author told part of the story from the viewpoint of the monster. I've seen this in other books but not done as well as here. A nice change in a horror story, especially since ***spoiler**** the monster is eventually aware of his previous life.
The action in this book begins immediately with the dead rising from the earth. This would be a great Sci Fi channel movie!! The one thing I didn't care for was the constant introduction of new characters. It can be somewhat confusing keeping all the characters straight. I began to think of them as "red shirt characters" Remember the old Star Trek TV show? You always knew the guys in red shirts were going to meet their doom before the end of the show. They are a necessary part of any story, the expendable people.

Overall, this is not my normal genre of book but I'm glad I read it. I look forward to reading more by Ms. Griffin
(reviewed 4 days after purchase)

Review by: Kelly Lester on Aug. 10, 2011 :
I read a fellow reviewer’s review on this book just to weigh our opinions against one another, and then I read another and another and then with my opinion, I think I can safely report that everyone agrees that this book should be considered a “cozy” horror story that has a sort of backwoods redneck horror atmosphere. You know the scene, someone is dead, a bunch of characters go “hunting” in the scary, dark woods. Some live, some die, some meet the monster that goes bump in the night. That’s how this story reads. It’s a good, familiar type read while introducing us to some fun characters, some that make it, some that don’t and a truly crazy monster (that’s crazy in a spooky, don’t turn the lights off sort of way). Throughout it all though, there is a unique and likeable writing style and if you are a lover of scary movies, this book is for you.

What I disliked: I am a lover of characters in my books, but I am finding many authors that seem to be throwing in character after character for no reason. That is sort of the case here, except because some of the characters are victims, I sort of am okay with it. But I can’t help but wonder if it really would have made that big of a difference if there were less characters and still the amount of victims if it would have been so bad?

The book for me was slow in some spots. I felt there could have been better flow to the story. Now having said that, I’m going to turn around and compliment the writer on an excellent writing style that presented the story in a unique yet familiar way. Perhaps a slightly shorter tale would have been better.

What I liked: I really liked a point of view in the story that was presented from the monster’s side. Yes, it’s been done, but this was done well and I appreciated it.

This book is a classic horror story written in a unique way by an author who has proven herself to me to be special. I will speak nothing derogatory about this author and indeed, I am hoping on the fan bandwagon. Maybe I’m not sitting in the front seat, but I’m still on the wagon.
(reviewed 85 days after purchase)

Review by: LE Olteano on July 30, 2011 :
Yummy, yummy horror story. I hadn’t realized how much I did miss horror stories until I read McCarty Griffin‘s writing. Rich, descriptive, suggestive, McCarty Griffin‘s world sweeps you off your feet, and you find yourself right there, in the middle of that forest, waiting for the non-romanticized monster to feed on you, instead of romancing you (the more popular outcome of meeting a were-thing). Don’t get me wrong, I love it when the monster romances you too, but every once in a while, it’s good for the bloodthirsty beast thingy to be just that, bloodthirsty. Puts things in perspective a bit, you know?

The key element in any horror-related type of thing, be it movies, novels or images, is the mood setting, the atmosphere. This is the brilliant part of Monster Story, it sets the mood superbly. This, to me, was the strongest point of the read. From an easy, fairytale like scenery, morphing gradually into a horrifying scene, this world is quite captivating, despite some stereotypes that do float around, like the small-town related things for instance. But stereotypes, a much hated instrument for some, are effective in one thing, they capitalize on all previous suggestions, they’re quite effective if you’re not actively fighting them off, all the time, every time.

I liked the way the plot developed; it could have gone any way, really. It could have become a classic paranormal romance, it could have become a truly horrific tale, or just a mild cautionary story. The buildup was there, and it could have been steered into any direction. When it did take a clear and final turn towards horror, it did so smoothly but effectively.

Over all I can say I have enjoyed it quite a bit; I wouldn’t say I’m in love with it, but I really did like it. If you’re into thrilling horror, by all means give this a try, it’s a beautiful exponent of the genre.
(And, that cover is super-kicka$$! Love it!)
(reviewed 61 days after purchase)

Review by: Kim Deister on July 21, 2011 :
Set in rural West Virginia, Monster Story is definately what the title tells you, a true monster story. The action starts from almost the very beginning and doesn't let up. Fairly early on, the reader knows what, if not who, the monster is, but that realization is almost secondary because, at heart, the monster is what the title says, a monster. Plain and simple. But without giving that plot point away, the monster is created to be something very different than those in most fiction, which was a refreshing take on it. The emphasis was definately on the monstrous and it made the story that much more thrilling. The setting of the hollows, hills and woods of West Virginia were described so richly and added a great deal to the creepy, spooky, and scary tone of the story. It also helped build the suspense to the point that every little noise made me jump as I read this! This is definately NOT a book for the faint of heart, because there is a fair amount of blood and gore, an integral part of a great horror novel.

But what really made this book were the characters. The interaction between Christy and her best friend Graeme was lively, and at times very humorous. That unexpected lighthearted humor helped keep the book from being overly dark at times. Tess and David had moments in the book that were loving and tender and that added a nice note of hope to the story. I also loved the unusual characters of Belle and Jaba, unusual in that they are a dog and cat respectively. But, animal or not, they each played their role both in the dark parts of the story and in providing some humor and lightness.

For me the most powerful scene was the final scene. I found myself almost in tears as I turned the pages waiting for the conclusion. I can't say very much more without spoilers, so I will say no more other than that it was a fantastic ending to a wonderful story!
(reviewed 66 days after purchase)

Review by: lainy79 on July 10, 2011 :
Synopsis from the authors site

Christy McCauley has returned home to a surreal nightmare. In the deep hollows of rural Augusta County, something unspeakable is slaughtering people in the night. Authorities don't know if its human or animal, or how to stop it. Christy and her friends only know they must hunt it and destroy it, before it kills again.

As you may have picked up from the synopsis Christy McCauley is our main character, returning home from the big city to the quiet town she grew up in. The people are the same but there is a monster on the loose and the police don't know what to make of it. Is it a bear or some lunatic on the loose, ripping apart the residents. This is a horror story with a few twists (getting a view point from the monster as well as the characters). Early on we follow the monster and it emerging (which I drew my own conclusions and though I knew what it was, I was wrong). This novel can't be just put into the horror category as it has many levels to it, it is certainly a thriller and keeps you on edge but also takes you into the budding relationships between the characters and animals alike (I loved that!). The horror aspect and murders scenes paint quite a picture and are really graphic and quite gory which scores big points for this kind of book

The story has so many heart stopping, tension building moments, I can tell you I lost some sleep as I had to find out how it all turned out. Right up until the last pages it has you gripped and on the edge of your seat. I feel there was definate scope for a prequel with this and if it does come out I would certainly be getting it to find out the origins of our monster.

Engaging, easy to follow and certainly easy to read, I was hooked practically from the beginning - a 4/5 for me.
(reviewed 41 days after purchase)

Review by: GeekyGirlReview on June 28, 2011 :
I am not usually into werewolf stories but I do love horror. First off this is not a book for everyone. It is not for the faint of heart so this is not for everyone. I for one am a tough cookie and I do not get scared easily when I read book or watch movies.
Anyways, this book is fantastic. I was hooked from page 1 and couldn't put it down at all. This book I highly recommend to all who are into horror and fantasy genre.
(reviewed 47 days after purchase)

Review by: Jamie Kline on June 25, 2011 :
I was so psyched to read this book because I can't tell you how long it's been since I've read a thriller. It's been too long, but luckily this book came along to scare the crap out of me. In it we meet Christy, who moves back to West Virginia after inheriting her grandmother's cabin. At first there are some reports of wild animal attacks which set her and the rest of the town on edge. Then it becomes clear that no animal could rip a person limb from limb. In order to stop the killings, Christy and her close friends have to first admit that maybe the stuff of nightmares isn't legend after all.
I really enjoyed the characters in this one. Christy was tough, even when she was scared she stood her ground and refused to just run away from the problem. I think most people would just choose to leave West Virginia and never look back but she knew that someone had to stop the creature and the law enforcement wasn't likely to believe that a mythical creature was behind the massacres. I think my absolute favorite person in the book was Christy's friend Graeme, a flamboyant city boy who decides to help Christy move to West Virginia and stay for a couple of weeks to keep her company. Some of the things that came out of his mouth literally made me laugh out loud, especially some of the banter between him and Christy. He's definitely someone I would want to be friends with and he showed himself to be a loyal friend by sticking by Christy's side even though he was scared out of his mind. The rest of the "hunting party" consisted of Christy's father, her good friends Tess and David (who also happens to be a Deputy Sheriff), and Will, a conservation officer. They were all were very strong supporting characters and added some different dimensions to the story, as it was told by several different characters' points of view throughout.
This book is certainly not for the faint of heart. There were several times while I was reading that I got chills all over and had to get up to check and make sure the doors were all locked. It's been awhile since I've been affected in that way by a book and I have to say I enjoyed it. The death scenes were extremely bloody and gory, so descriptive I could easily picture the scenes in my mind which made it every more horrifying. The thing I really loved about this book is it was genuinely scare; none of those cutesy, nice supernatural creatures anywhere to be seen. Not that I don't enjoy those kinds of books too, but it was a nice change of pace to read about a terrifying, bloodthirsty killer.
The romance between Christy and Will definitely isn't a focal point of the book, but it's a nice little touch thrown in. Although for my taste they fell for each other pretty quick considering they hardly knew each other. Then again, under those kinds of circumstances it might make you re-evaluate your life and figure life is too short to take it slow.
I really enjoyed reading this book, with it's mysterious, brutal killer and heart-pounding, terrifying scenes of death. I enjoyed getting goosebumps while reading, knowing that the book could affect me in that way. It gave me the creeps and if you like a good scary story then you should definitely check this book out!
(reviewed 21 days after purchase)

Review by: Jackie B on June 15, 2011 :
Monster Story is the third book that I have had the pleasure of reading for an honest review by author McCarty Griffin . The book is also the one I left for last because it is a horror suspense and not a book I would normally read... However I stepped out of my little box and accepted the challenge of being shocked, horrified, grossed out and pleasantly entertained as well!

The book has a lot of graphic descriptions that are not for anyone with a squeamish stomach, it also tells a very gripping tale that is full of drama and suspense and at times a sense of fun that even when it is not appropriate lightens up this very dark and raw tale of savage murders by a Monster who has run amok from one end of the county to the next!

I found the writing style of the author easy to follow with this tale, there are just enough characters in the book to make it interesting without being overwhelming and the countryfied hillbilly atmosphere added a sense of familiarity as I am from a small town and it was quite a bit like where the story takes place... Lots of hunters and running coons with hound dogs where I grew up so it was something that resonated with my memories and made this a more believable story...

I have to say that mixing horror and humor may seem a little off, it worked with this book... The wonderful give and take between Christy and her best friend Graeme were my favorite scenes in the book... The scene with Christy's cat Jaba and the bluetick hound Belle were also a nice way to break up the dark atmosphere that permeates the entire story.

All in all I enjoyed learning what and who the monster was and how the plot played out to the ending, even though at times I was both repelled and fascinated it was a good read for a change of pace...

For people who enjoy the Sci-Fi Channel and old movies with a lot of pulse pounding build up to the action this one will be a perfect sit down at night and prepare to be scared reading experience... It is not something for everyone but believe me if you do get the chance to get a copy you will find yourself engrossed until the book ends!

I have to disclose that this book was an e-arc copy submitted to me by the author for an honest review and that there is no other compensation from her or the publisher except my reading pleasure and enjoyment of the characters depicted in the story.

More reads to enjoy by the author:

The Tribe
(reviewed 16 days after purchase)

Review by: vanessa eric on June 14, 2011 :
I don’t usually enjoy reading vampire or werewolf story, but this book is probably an exception. I didn’t feel like being thrown into the world of some gloomy teenagers who are helplessly head-over-heel with a vampire because the characters are mostly adult. On top of that, the story isn’t entirely focusing on sappy romance; rather it’s about adventure and adventure only. This is book is definitely a must-read, recommended to adult readers who enjoy a much mature paranormal-themed story.
(reviewed 21 days after purchase)

Review by: aobibliophile on June 08, 2011 :
“Never moon a werewolf.” - Mike Binder

Christy McCauley is back in West Virginia. her homecoming is far from pleasant. her grandmother has just passed away. after the funeral, Chrissy learns that Gram bequeathed to her a cabin in Misty Valley, thirty acres of land, seventy thousand dollars and a life insurance policy worth one hundred thousand dollars.
she then decides to leave behind her job as assistant technical writer at Manning Graphics in South Carolina and invites her colleague and best friend Graeme Pierce for a visit.
meanwhile, something is out there in the hollows and woods of rural Augusta County. it stalks, it kills and is hungry for more.
while reading this book, i fondly recalled memories of my high school teacher who used to regale us with stories of werewolves a few minutes before she dismissed us from class. i also remember The Howling series by Gary Brandner.
McCarty Griffin's take on the werewolf was a delightful and frightening read. i loved how she portrayed life in "hillbilly" country with its interesting characters and their idiosyncrasies.
Chrissy's friend Graeme with his city ways was entertaining and memorable. Chrissy's strained relationship with her mother was contrasted with Chrissy's close connection with her father. her oldest friends Tess and her husband David are shown as a loving and supportive couple. the widow Marla Fullard, her emotional state and what she had to go through were aptly described.
these are just some of the players in this book. readers may find a lot of them showing up here and there but each had stories to tell and all of them are linked together as the novel progresses.
though i had some niggles - which i cannot mention here as they would lead to spoilers - Monster Story was still a fun, fast-paced read.
i never had a dull moment and the last couple of chapters were as gripping as the first few ones.
(reviewed 68 days after purchase)

Review by: Davilynn Furlow on June 07, 2011 :
Monster Story is a modern-day werewolf story. Please don’t stop reading now if you are not a horror, supernatural or science fiction fan. I’m not either, but author McCarty Griffin sent an email to our blog,, and asked if we would review Monster Story.

Out of courtesy only, I started reading the sample at, and before I realized what had happened, I was intrigued by the story and impressed with the author’s character development. In fact, I was a number of pages into the book before I realized that I was actually reading what the title says it is—a monster story.

Even when unspeakable murders start occurring in their midst, the main characters are believably normal. Their thought processes are credible as they arrive at the unbelievable conclusion that only a werewolf could be responsible for the gruesomeness of the deaths.

The story takes place in Appalachia, and Griffin does a good job of describing the area. She also has a touch that enables her to give the reader a sense of the hillbilly personalities of some of the auxiliary characters without being offensive.

Unlike many books of this genre, Griffin doesn’t rely on hysteria or a mob frenzy to make the story work; she relies instead on her storytelling ability.

Christy McCauley moved to South Carolina 10 years earlier to get away from West Virginia, where she grew up. At the beginning of the story, she gets a call from her father that her grandmother has died, she and heads back to Appalachia for the funeral. In her will, Christy’s grandmother leaves her granddaughter her cabin on 30 acres of woodlands, a tidy sum of cash and a $100,000 life insurance policy.

The cabin and the land in the woods are the last things Christy thinks she wants, even though she loved staying there with her grandmother when she was growing up. But after her first night in the cabin, she realizes the draw it has for her.

Meanwhile, horrific murders are taking place around her.

In the end, a collaboration of Christy, her best guy friend from South Carolina who’s come to visit, her best friend Tess and Tess’s deputy sheriff-husband David, and Will Drummond with the Department of Natural Resources figure out who/what’s doing the killing and put an end to it.

But reading how they get to that point is the best part—whether you think you like monster stories or not.
(reviewed 15 days after purchase)

Review by: S.J. Collins on March 21, 2011 :
I. Love. Werewolves. And not just the sexy ones that hail from Urban Fantasy (although I’m even more fond of those than UF Vampires). Oh No. I love the ones that go bump in the night for blood and unchecked rage. So I was only too eager to dive right into McCarty Griffin’s Monster Story.

I made the mistake of reading a few pages one night when I couldn’t sleep and only ended up giving myself the wiggins. (“Wiggins?” Who the fuck says “Wiggin’s” anymore SJ?” Sorry, been watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer lately. I’m on Season 3! Right, none of you care, back to reviewing). In the end I had to turn on the TV and watch the Food Network to lull my very aware subconscious into believing that nothing was going to appear out of the shadows to attack and or make a meal of me. Because I’m 12, apparently.

Having said that, I liked that McCarty went the route not often taken. Because this isn’t a werewolf story to me, it is exactly as the title states: a monster story. The “were” is just as feral and horrifying as the “wolf”. In some ways more, because as humans, I think we have a hard time seeing anything that looks like “us” as monsters and Christy and friends spend a lot of time wondering about the moral ramifications of dealing with what they are dealing with because of that.

There are a few scenes I would suggest investing in a night light for. And this is definitely not your book if you are in anyway squicked out by even the slightest suggestion of gore. Oddly, I’m not as bothered by it in books as I am in movies, even though my imagination has sent me on some doozies of a fear trip. Make of that what you will.

Other things I liked….well, there is a sweet little romance subplot that I wasn’t expecting and found charming in it’s understated way. Graeme stole most of the scenes he was in and became my favorite character of the piece. (Next to Jabba. *g*) Christy and Graeme’s bickering nicely toned down the tension. And, without spoiling anything, I had an uncontrollable gigglefest when the author pulled a Han Solo moment. Objectively, it worked well in the scene, I was just tickled by it.

There were times when I felt the dialogue and exposition to be unnecessarily repetitive but nothing that can’t be overlooked.
(reviewed 20 days after purchase)

Review by: Crescent Suns eBooks on March 03, 2011 :
McCarty Griffin proves with Monster Story that she not only understands what monsters are all about, but that she can take her knowledge and turn it into the best werewolf story ever placed on the market. Move over Lon Chaney. Take a hike you Twilight wannabes. McCarty Griffin is the new alpha in the werewolf pack and she has the story to prove it.
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(reviewed 16 days after purchase)

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