Who is LUTHOR?

Posted: April 30, 2014 in Book reviews

It’s no secret that I’ve always had a soft spot for sympathetic “monster” characters. Fictional figures like Mary Shelley’s creature of Frankenstein, Victor Hugo’s Quasimodo and the Phantom of the Opera have always fascinated me. Why? Because deep down, beyond the disfigurement, there was a deeply human yearning for love that these characters used to grow in spirit, despite the hatred and fear they were regarded with by the rest of the world. I’ve always been in love with books that deal with such characters, perhaps due to my own awareness that I’m physically different from everyone else.

The book I’m about to review has the words “FICTION-HORROR” on the top corner of its back cover, but let me assure you, it is so much more. I’m talking about a novel called LUTHOR, by Pol McShane, of which I was honored to receive a signed copy. The author has confessed his desire to create something akin to classic Universal movie monsters going on a rampage. I’m thankful that he didn’t. Everything about this novel is meant to tug at the heartstrings of its readers rather than strictly terrify or disgust them. I’ll try to sum up the story as best as I can in order to do it justice without spoiling it.

This novel is actually really difficult to sum up, and it’s the very emotional core that makes it so vivid that leaves one at a loss for words. This is a story of two children living in terror because of their abusive father, who end up doing unspeakable things in order to shield themselves from his madness. Joshua and Amanda Brodrick are far from spoiled children, despite their father Garvin’s affluence. They’re never shown any love, and thus end up with a warped definition of it to say the least. Their constant attempts to escape their father’s abuse lead them into an incestuous affair, which ultimately gives birth to Luthor, the title character.

But who is Luthor and what makes him so important to the story?

Luthor is a child of the darkness. Born with ichthyosis, a skin condition that gives him rough, scaly skin, he is forced to live a nocturnal life, an upside down life, a life that has people asking questions.

But if Luthor is the monster, what does that make Joshua, and Garvin before him?  That’s why this book is so hard to sum up. Because it’s something that anyone who has ever known that they are different will identify with. To me, Luthor is not a monster. He is a reminder, albeit a painful one, of the fact that even from the vilest of situations, purity and innocence can emerge. He’s a frightened child just yearning for acceptance and love, living in  a world replete with darkness and violence.

This book will make its readers cringe. It will make them feel every moment of pain that its characters experience. It will compel them. It will shock them. It will occasionally make them smile at the thought of the fact that “within the eyes of darkness there hides a child”. What I know for certain is that it made me thank God for the family I was born and raised in. Thus, ten stars out of five wouldn’t do it justice. Pol McShane is now my other favorite horror author besides Stephen King, and I’m a very, VERY picky reader when it comes to books like these. Thank you, Mr. McShane. What a read! What an utterly unforgettable read!

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