Monster Hunter International: Entertaining dude-lit

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fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsMonster Hunter International by Larry CorreiaMonster Hunter International by Larry Correia

“Our business is monsters. And business is booming.”

Owen Zastava Pitt was just trying to be normal. He used to be a bouncer who spent his evenings participating in illegal pit fights, but he managed to earn a CPA and became a boring accountant for a big corporation — pension and dental benefits included. Being tall and weighing in at 300 lbs, he didn’t quite look like an accountant — and he still spent his weekends as a gun hobbyist — but he was making progress…. until his boss turned into a werewolf and Owen managed to defeat him and push him out a window on the 14th story of their office building.

That caught the attention of a covert freelance organization called Monster Hunters International. In contrast to the secret government organization that hunts monsters, MHI is a family business. The Shackleford family has selectively recruited and trained a group of highly skilled men and women who work in teams to rid the world of all sorts of dangerous supernatural creatures. Then they collect large bounties from a special government fund. It’s extremely lucrative, but extremely dangerous, too.

Owen’s stature, militant upbringing, gun expertise, quick wits, and tenacity are exactly what MHI is looking for. When they send Julie Shackleford to interview Owen, he can’t resist her good looks and her guns. So Owen signs up for the craziest job in the world and is soon dealing with vampires, gargoyles, ghouls, zombies, werewolves, meddling government bureaucrats, and the insects of the Deep South. He gets some help from his diverse set of MHI colleagues and the good supernaturals — head-banging orcs, trailer park elves, and the ghost of a dead Jewish man that lives in his head.

In the past the monster incidents that MHI has dealt with have seemed like random infestations, but now it’s becoming clear that there’s a coordinated attack going on. Agents of the Old Ones are searching for an ancient artifact that can stop time and open a portal to a source of infinite power. They’ve tried it before — back when the Nazis were in power — and now they’re back to try again. Fortunately, MHI is standing in their way…

Monster Hunter International, the first in Larry Correia’s MONSTER HUNTER INTERNATIONAL series is high-octane non-stop action-packed fun. Blazing assault weapons, monsters of all sorts, and plenty of blood, guts and brains. OK, honestly, this is not typically my thing — it’s really violent and gory — but after enjoying Correia’s GRIMNOIR CHRONICLES, I decided to give MONSTER HUNTER INTERNATIONAL a try, especially since I found them on sale at Audible a while back.

I felt like I was hooked up to a testosterone drip, but I cringingly admired Monster Hunter International. The plot is tight, exciting, and unpredictable. The writing — especially the dialog — is excellent. Correia’s characters are complex and engaging and the women are just as competent as the men. Best of all is Larry Correia’s dry irreverent sense of humor. I wouldn’t call Monster Hunter International a comedy, but I chuckled all the way through. It was this comic relief that made the violence tolerable for me.

MONSTER HUNTER INTERNATIONAL is a series that is even better in audio than print. Audible Frontiers produces the audio version and it’s narrated by Oliver Wyman. Keep in mind that I listen to about 150 audiobooks each year when I say that Wyman’s performance is one of the best I’ve ever heard. He handles both the male and female voices with ease and effortlessly shifts through several accents including a Southern drawl and some Eastern European dialects. His pacing and inflection is perfect. If you’re planning to try MONSTER HUNTER INTERNATIONAL please consider the audio version. You will not be disappointed.

Monster Hunter International is a little too violent and gory for me to count it as a true favorite, but it excels at what it does. It’s highly entertaining dude-lit that is well-written and humorous enough to appeal to a much wider audience.

Publisher: Five days after Owen Zastava Pitt pushed his insufferable boss out of a fourteenth story window, he woke up in the hospital with a scarred face, an unbelievable memory, and a job offer. It turns out that monsters are real. All the things from myth, legend, and B-movies are out there, waiting in the shadows. Officially secret, some of them are evil, and some are just hungry. On the other side are the people who kill monsters for a living. Monster Hunter International is the premier eradication company in the business. And now Owen is their newest recruit. It’s actually a pretty sweet gig, except for one little problem. An ancient entity known as the Cursed One has returned to settle a centuries old vendetta. Should the Cursed One succeed, it means the end of the world, and MHI is the only thing standing in his way. With the clock ticking towards Armageddon, Owen finds himself trapped between legions of undead minions, belligerent federal agents, a cryptic ghost who has taken up residence inside his head, and the cursed family of the woman he loves. Business is good… Welcome to Monster Hunter International.

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KAT HOOPER, who started this site in June 2007, earned a Ph.D. in neuroscience and psychology at Indiana University (Bloomington) and now teaches at the University of North Florida. When she reads fiction, she wants to encounter new ideas and lots of imagination. She wants to view the world in a different way. She wants to have her mind blown. She loves beautiful language and has no patience for dull prose, vapid romance, or cheesy dialogue. She prefers complex characterization, intriguing plots, and plenty of action. Favorite authors are Jack Vance, Robin Hobb, Kage Baker, William Gibson, Gene Wolfe, Richard Matheson, and C.S. Lewis.

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  1. Thanks for this review! I posted on SFSignal about military-styled fantasy, highlighting a few books in that vein, and people started commenting about Monster Hunters Intl, suggesting it as a good option, so it’s firmly on my radar now. Though some folks seem polarized by it, either really enjoying the series or saying they’re turned off by the writing. Have you run into that at all?

    • Hi Josh,
      The writing is excellent and really the reason I enjoyed such a violent story. Perhaps those who are turned off are grossed out by the violence. I’m pretty squeamish, so that was an issue for me and why I didn’t rate it higher — I can see why many readers would give it 5 stars, it’s that entertaining and well written. Or maybe they’re turned off by his public right wing political views? He’s obviously a gun fanatic and there are a few comments about incompetent government bureaucracy, but it’s not at all preachy. However, on his blog he’s openly right-wing and religious (Mormon).

      • Thanks, Kat! Well, violence isn’t a big deal for me (as a Joe Abercrombie fan, for instance). I guess it’ll just have to depend on my own read-through.

  2. I really need to find time to give this series a read. I picked up the hardcover omnibus of the first three books over the holidays, but haven’t shifted it to the top of the reading pile yet.

  3. “Dude Lit” Kat, you just coined a new sub-genre title, which is most awesome. I love it. And I want more Dude Lit!!!

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