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Book Review: "Mannheim Rex"

Essencejoy Evangelista |
January 9, 2013 | 12:52 a.m. PST

Staff Reporter

Author Robert Pobi (from author's site).
Author Robert Pobi (from author's site).

When I first received "Mannheim Rex," the latest novel by Robert Pobi, I flipped through the pages to gain a feel for the novel with a growing concern that finishing the book would be a great challenge. Finding time these days to devote my attention to a 501-page novel is not a task that rises to the top of my list and I am certain many of you can relate. However, "Mannheim Rex" is a refreshing deviation from the romance novels that seem to captivate many of today’s audiences and worthy of whatever time you can manage to set aside. 

The plot centers around an internationally famed horror writer named Gavin Corlie who is struggling to accept his wife’s recent death. In an attempt to escape the ever-present memories of her in New York City, he orders his assistant to purchase a house on Lake Caldasac to find solace in the country. While there, Corlie befriends Finn Horn, a local thirteen-year-old and master of all things fishing, on the basis that there is a monster in the lake that has developed a taste for bigger prey. 

Despite his disbelief, Corlie agrees to hunt with Finn and uncovers more than the monster living at the bottom of the lake during the process. From the cover and description on the back, the novel appears, at first glance, to be another horror to the reader. But there is no denying the juxtaposition between the monsters in our imaginations and the most unsuspecting ones of all--the real ones. They can range from actual people, like those who abuse their power for personal pleasure, to a physical or emotional monster, like depression or sickness, that corrodes your well-being. Pobi unravels a multitude of complex and relatable characters, and demonstrates an uncanny ability to provide layers of depth to bring to life what could have simply been another story about a monster in the water.

For all the detail provided in previous parts of the novel, the ending paled in comparison. Although I did shiver at the imagery in the last chapter (more incentive for you to find out what exactly I shivered at!), I was left feeling unsatisfied. It is my hope that the author purposely did this in order to write a sequel, however, only time will tell. "Mannheim Rex" promises to be a dark thriller, and it will not disappoint. From the shifting points-of-view, to the extremely short chapters and the immense amount of imagery and detail that can be packed into one, the story is one that will leave you wanting to drop everything else just to finish the book. 

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