We Are Monsters by Brian Kirk is much more than an entertaining horror story focused on the nature of reality; it explores an important moral concern that has plagued society for generations—the treatment of patients in psychiatric hospitals
Most of the novel takes place in the Sugar Hill Mental Hospital. The protagonist, Alex Drexler, is a staff psychiatrist at Sugar Hill. He is highly motivated and more focused on success than on the wellbeing of his patients. He lusts for financial profit and a major promotion. His foil is Dr. Eli Alpert, Sugar Hill’s Chief Medical Director, a gentle, softhearted man who respects his patients.
Drexler believes he has created a drug that will reset a patient’s mind so that it will function properly. Although the drug has not been approved, he secretly tests it on his patients with questionable results. Because a pharmaceutical company is interested is the drug, he forges ahead, his main goal huge profits that would cure his financial woes. When an infamous serial killer is admitted to Sugar Hill, Drexler cannot resist one more test of his drug, even though he doubts its efficacy. With this last test, psychotic illusion spills into reality.
“The world is an illusion: we only pretend it’s real.”
The setting, Sugar Hill, is clearly drawn and rings true. Readers will feel they are there among the patients. The two main characters are made real by extensive backstories that secure credibility and validate their behavior and motivations.
The diametrically opposed motivations of the two main characters add complexity to the plot, urging readers to choose sides and wonder who will succeed.
The elevated literary quality of the prose enhances the already compelling story. The text is clear and easy to read, making the novel a great choice for readers who love horror. In addition, the underlying societal message raises We Are Monsters above the fray, making it unique, praiseworthy, and a great choice for a wide range of readers who may very well reassess their views on reality and on the treatment of those facing mental challenges.
We Are Monsters is a recommended read.
We Are Monsters
Book Title: We Are Monsters
Book Author: Brian Kirk
Book Format: EBook
Publisher: Flame Tree Press