Book Review: the Nightmare of Frankenstein by Perry Lake
Are you a fan of the classic black and white horror films? Do you enjoy the creepy atmosphere and gloom they project, drawing you into a darker realm of suspense? Then Perry Lake’s the Nightmare of Frankenstein is for you.
Let me say first: this isn’t my kind of book. I’m typically a fan of bold action and seething horror. But I am still a fan of the old black and whites. I recall many times as a kid staying up late to catch the tales of Dracula, the Mummy, and my favorite the Wolfman. These pictures were some of the bedrock of suspense and horror for decades. And Perry Lake’s Frankenstein pays homage to them in tone and style.
The book, broken in to two tales begins with the journey of Victor Frankenstein, from his youth up to the point of his greatest creation and undoing. Told in the third person, we follow the lad as he devours knowledge in his quest to create life from the lifeless. The author wraps chunks of history (both literal and speculative) into this tale, giving Victor the tools he required to leap from man to God. I enjoyed how the author borrowed pieces of history, blending the works of scientists of notoriety and infamy (such as Thomas Aquinas and Albertus Magnus, both holy men and scholars) as well as tapping into the enigmatic Illuminati to craft the framework of Victor’s quest. He travels across Europe and beyond in search of the tools necessary to meet his endgame. Though at times it felt a little dry emotionally. Most of the time his thirst for knowledge is all that drives him through the story
The first act ends with Victor’s creation taking life, then springs forward into the mind of the Monster.
Now told in the first person, the Monster travels throughout Europe and beyond, searching for the knowledge to continue were his creator left off and make himself a mate as he was promised. Again, the book weaves in more speculative/ literal history as the Monster meats alchemists, scientist, and doctors that marvel and fear him. We also get a taste of other classic monsters such as a wolfman, some ghouls, and Dracula himself. And if I’m not mistaken, an aspect of Cthulhu makes an appearance. The author even skirts in close to the queen herself, Mary Shelley, as her recounting of Frankenstein’s tale is perceived by the general public as a fictional tale. Later he meets Dr. Robert Knox, a Scottish anatomist whose lines are written in an ancient tongue that made reading it a little slow but enjoyable nonetheless.
I enjoyed the half-century exploits of the Monster but felt a bit let down as he fought through many miss steps in his quest for a mate. The poor (and I use that loosely) creature remains utterly alone the entire time. The brute touched many lives, some of which violently, and made quite the impression in his journeys. The story ends with the Monster narrowly fleeing a band of collectors that planned on displaying him for other’s amusement, but the author offers a glimpse into the continuing tale of the Monster. This I look forward to reading!
Perry Lake offers a rich, well-researched look into one of the classic tales and one I would suggest other fans of the classics to read.