Published by Flame Tree Press on January 30th 2020
Genres: Fiction, Horror
Format: ARC, eBook
Buy on Amazon
Nominated for a Bram Stoker Award® for Superior Achievement in a First Novel.
"A stark and frightening novel. Horror fans should definitely seek this one out." - Booklist
Some doctors are sicker than their patients.
When a troubled psychiatrist loses funding to perform clinical trials on an experimental cure for schizophrenia, he begins testing it on his asylum s criminally insane, triggering a series of side effects that opens the mind of his hospital s most dangerous patient, setting his inner demons free.
FLAME TREE PRESSis the new fiction imprint of Flame Tree Publishing. Launched in 2018 the list brings together brilliant new authors and the more established; the award winners, and exciting, original voices.
We Are Monsters is Brian Kirk’s debut novel and what a debut it is. The walk of sanity is a knife-edge. One slip and you can tumble to your death via a savage tumbling that cracks you open. Coping mechanisms may not be healthy and realities shift. One day you are a fully functioning individual, the next you are embarking on a divine mission to rid the world of demonic evil. Is sanity truly sane? Why were people committed to insane asylums for teenage pregnancy, infidelity and mild depression…are the realms of diagnosing insanity moral/accurate? When the real apocalypse arrives and if it’s anything close to this, dig a hole and throw yourself in because that is your only chance at survival.
Brian Kirk tackles some real hard-hitting themes – mental health, radical research which has immoral connotations and psychiatric treatments. The book is primarily told in the perspectives of Alex (Psychiatrist), Eli (Chief Medical Director) and Alison (Social Worker). Dr Eli Alpert has built his stellar reputation at Sugar Hill Hospital for his humanistic approach to mental health treatment. He believes that compassion and drug free methods has a higher success and relapse rate rather than purely medicinal treatments. He has a dark and troubling past which comes back to haunt him.
Dr Alex Drexler has constantly pissing against the wind. You really got to feel for the guy. He is at the top of his game, waiting in the wings for Eli to retire and capture the end goal of Chief Medical Director Position. Both Alex and Eli have different ethos. Alex having formulated a medicine that could potentially cure Schizophrenia. If only it wasn’t for that pesky issue of testing on humans without backing. His marriage, his career and his financial stability is riding upon this being regulated. The scenes with Dr Drexler testing his medicine gave me major anxiety. My eyes watered, my heart wanted to escape, and my stomach felt like it was on the super spin cycle.
Sugar Hill is seriously creepy. Chills down your spine, skulking along the corridors awaiting an axe murderer to end you. It restricts your breathing, engages your fight or flight response. Fear is an icy sweat. Fear is imagination losing all semblance of sanity. Fear is a broken psyche. This book gave me serious Gothika and Shutter Island feels. Brian Kirk is nerve-splittingly brilliant at examining the human condition. He has pulled back the layers of life to highlight how mental health is shoestring – pull too hard and it’ll break.
The second half of the book really goes into top gear. It’s on steroids. Just when you think that you know the remits of sanity, you are smacked across the face with a 2×4. It’s not the monsters that we should be fearful of…It’s insanity. It’s raw and excruciating, but at the end of it all it is indescribably human. It gains traction, it’s unique and terrifying.
Brian Kirk has created a true skin crawler. We Are Monsters has disguised itself as the most unapologetic trojan horse. If you enjoy deep, psyche breaking horror, this should hit the spot.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Hi. My name is Brian Kirk, and I write strange, often scary stories.
My debut novel, We are Monsters, was a finalist for the Bram Stoker Award in the first novel category. And my short fiction has been published in several notable magazines and anthologies, such as Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories and Behold! Oddities, Curiosities, and Undefinable Wonders, which won a Bram Stoker Award.
Feel free to connect with me through one of the following channels. Don’t worry, I only kill my characters.