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I m not a fisherman, I don t like fish, so the fishing scenes in this novel should have bored me to tears It s a testament to how good a writer Pobi is that he had me pardon the pun hooked throughout this novel.I read Bloodman and enjoyed it, even though I wasn t overly thrilled with the ending It wasn t bad, it just wasn t, in my opinion, all that great But I loved the novel enough to dive I m sorry, I can t help myself right into his next novel I m glad I did I liked the characters better, I liked the story better Pobi s a great writer.Though, not without his faults I found Gavin saying either, I m a writer, or, I m a horror writer, far too often He wore the title like a badge and trotted it out for almost any occasion It worked initially, but it got old after a while.Also, the cockroach army in Pope s head went over the top a few times, and felt excessive Don t get me wrong, I liked a lot of the scenes, but there were times where it bordered on cartoonish.And, to me, some of the plotlines never truly resolved for me, and made me wonder if they were either abandoned midway through the writing, or forgotten Gavin s vehicle accident His questioning of the M.E Pope in general Finn s degradation of illness.These are the only reasons this book didn t get a full five star rating But overall, this was Jaws, as written by Stephen King It was a lot of fun, and, for the first time in a while, I found myself enjoying the reading experience again. Disclaimer I received an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review.I was nervous going into this one because my defining personality trait is jumpy and I was, well, scared But this one wasn t nearly as scary as I anticipated and I am glad it had a good monster scary and also a good people scary aspect to it.I thought the writing was alright, it wasn t the best and it wasn t the worst, but I think it kept the book moving along pretty well Considering this book is VERY long, I am glad that the writing allowed the pace to move along fairly quickly I found myself a little bored at the start because we knew the lake monster was there but it was made to seem as though it wasn t Or at least no one really believed it so it made me feel awkward for the first 100 or so pages.However, after these 100 I read the rest of the book in like 2.5 hours Which considering the size is a pretty good feat I thought the pace was really well done and I didn t feel like there was any part of this novel that I wanted to be cut out or last longer I liked that there were a lot of the necessary, predictable tropes and then a lot of little surprises along the way I think the author did a good job of writing a story that people could figure out the basic plot but some of these tropes were subverted to keep you on your toes.I really liked all the characters, but I thought the romantic relationship between Laurel and Gavin was very quick I feel like we had seen Gavin falling to pieces over his dead wife and then it was like a flip of a switch and he was with Laurel And while I am okay with people moving forward in their lives, I thought it was too quick for how we had seen Gavin up to this point I thought there could have been time spent with Gavin and Laurel to see him start to open up before they got together However, I did like their relationship and it was nice to see Gavin happy On top of this, I thought Sheriff Pope was way over the top While he was a great land monster in relation to the lake monster, I thought it was just too much I did really like this one For being a monster of a book, I thought it was really well paced I thought the story used the tropes of the genre but also subverted some of them, and I really liked the characters If you re looking for a good lake monster story, this is the one for you Books and Ladders Books Are My Fandom Twitter Instagram Bloglovin Gavin Corlie is a famous horror writer, who loses his wife in a traffic accident and spends his days in a drunken stupor considering suicide Eventually realising he has to change his life, he buys a house in New Mannheim, on the banks of Lake Caldasac, where he retreats to the country to lick his wounds Once there, he meets Finn Horn, a young handicapped boy who enjoys fishing on the lake and the lovely Dr Laurel Their lives intersect and together, Gavin and Finn, begin to hunt the creature which nearly killed Finn out on the lake For there is a reason that nobody fishes on Lake Caldasac and why it has than the usual number of boating accidents and unexplained deaths and that is the monster that lurks in the water.This novel reminded me of a 1970 s disaster movie but in the nicest way On one level it is a basic story about Gavin and Finn, both damaged in some way, and their hunt for the creature that will continue to kill unless it is caught Yet, it also has great characters and a heartwarming message about friendship and acceptance, as well as the second monster of the storyline the psychotic Sheriff Pope, who haunts the pages of the novel with a malevolence and violence which makes him almost as scary as the creature in the water I think this book could easily become a pretty average tv movie, which personally I would avoid I can say with certainty that the novel is much better than anything a scriptwriter could make of it I really enjoyed this, it was the first book I have tried by this author, but I am sure it will not be the last I read by him. While not a fantastic work of fiction, Mannheim Rex instantly hooked me Finn is ultimately responsible for keeping me on the line and reeling me in He was a spunky character that provided a nice foil to the horror writer However, the main bad guy was rather fishy. You want to know the best thing about lake monsters Robert Pobi s second novel, Mannheim Rex, falls firmly within the territory of a literary genre I coined I call it trashy underwater fiction, TUF and have ever since I was the editor of a magazine for scuba divers There are many subgenres of TUF killer marine life, mermaids, talking dolphins, undersea city, etc Mannheim Rex is of the lake monster subgenre And I ask you, how can you go wrong There s a lake, and you have a monster It almost writes itself.Well, let s give credit where credit is due I think Mr Pobi had a hand in this After the requisite mysterious fishing death, the novel opens in the New York apartment of a hugely successful horror novelist If you stretch your imagination, you can probably think of a real world counterpart Not yet forty, Gavin Corlie has realized the kind of success most men only dream about but that can t bring his wife back Unable to move past his grief, he knows something has to change Almost on a whim, he buys a house upstate on Lake Caldasac.There, Corlie begins to find some measure of peace, and begins to make friends first with Finn, a handicapped thirteen year old boy, and then with the local doctor treating him But Finn also introduces Gavin to the mysterious goings on at the lake The two of them join together on a quest to uncover the truth and to hunt a lake monster.Now, this is all pretty familiar territory to aficionados of TUF, but Pobi s having fun with the genre tropes He ll win no literary awards, but I ve seen writing that s far worse The plot was fairly predictable especially the identity of the mystery monster but some scenes like a certain basement sequence elevated the material briefly The characters were a mixed bag Corlie was enjoyable enough, but Finn drove me nuts I wanted to punch that little handicapped kid He was so annoying Also, in addition to the threat in the lake, the novel features a second antagonist This character was COMPLETELY over the top It was actually a little hard to believe what I was reading at times The novel s pace was okay, a somewhat surprising fact given the book s inflated 540 page length.Mannheim Rex isn t literature, but if you re reading this review, I don t think that s what you re looking for You want to know the best thing about lake monsters They can turn out to be almost anything I d not encountered this culprit before, and despite some predictability, Mannheim Rex is a welcome addition to my trashy underwater fiction shelves. This is everything I want in a book Thrilling, suspense, wonderful characters that the reader can embrace wonderful setting in a small rural town and a lake with something mysterious and huge that lives in it Very light romance, which works perfectly in this book.This author wrote the perfect book that I didn t want to stop reading I wish the book could go on and on I will definitely be looking for by author Robert Pobi Horror author Gavin Corlie is spiraling out of control The recent death of his wife has left him reeling and ending it all is frequently on his mind He decides his only option is a complete change of scenery getting away from the places and spaces he once shared with her He finds the perfect fixer upper in New Mannheim, on the banks of Lake Caldasac The picturesque setting and the quaint town should be a destination for fishermen and tourists, but New Mannheim is hiding a secret The town has seen a shocking number of disappearances and strange accidents Most people avoid the lake as a whole and take their fishing elsewhere When a local boy, Finn Horn, barely survives an accident on the lake while fleeing from Gavin, the author feels a sense of responsibility After all, the boy was welcome to fish in Gavin s little bay, but the shock of the new arrival was enough to scare him away After meeting Finn and hearing his story, though, Gavin becomes interested in the lake s strange history and the rumors of a monstrous killing machine that lives in its depths.This past week has been a bit of a slow one reading wise Interesting how that happens my pace waxes and wanes with no predictable pattern at all It can t even be chalked up to tv watching considering a lot of my shows have been on that weird mid season hiatus of late Robert Pobi s latest seems to have been my pick me up.I m a fan of a fun creature feature horror read, so I d been looking forward to my chance to dive into this one for a while It hit the spot for sure It s a bit schlocky, a bit gory, and lots of fun Admittedly I have a bit of a phobia about underwater creepies, so this is also the perfect sort of skin crawling read for a person like me.Aside from the creature itself, Gavin and Finn really made the story for me, though Gavin and his authorly insights are fun on their own but as an author who s also a widow in mourning one who does take his time telling his own story he s appealing on a lot of levels Finn, the handicapped thirteen year old who becomes Gavin s best friend and partner in crime, is sarcastic and witty as well as completely quirky.There s plenty of violence and death to go along with the creepy creature and the cool characters and there s an entertaining story besides, so you pretty much can t go wrong with this one if you re looking for a fun addition to your TBR I tell you what, though, I wouldn t move to Lake Caldasac Who doesn t love a good fish story Pobi s novel blends the joys of fishing with an homage to Jaws Set in Lake Caldesac, or Lake Dead End, an upstate New York fictitious lake, Pobi s book opens with a gruesome scene reminiscent of Benchley s classic His descriptive prose and realistic but familiar characters lend the book a cinematic quality, making it a very readable and fun experience And though famous horror writer Gavin Corlie feels a bit cliched at times, his counterpart, the quite tenacious and handicapable Finn, is completely new and very likable And Pobi s novel has double the monsters the mysterious aquatic one and the truly loathsome and vile Sheriff Xavier Pope Pope only becomes worse as the story continues He is definitely one of the most hatable villains that I have encountered in a long time The rather unlikely friendship between Gavin and Finn blossoms throughout the book, giving this fish story a lot heart and humour than you would expect after that opening scene Other minor characters add a lot, too I particularly liked the Liverpuddlian, Duffy, who sort of took on the role of Quint I would have liked Pobi to further explore the past owner of Gavin s haunted house on the lake And the New Mannheim Mannheim connection goes inexplicably unmentioned But, the biggest downfall of the book is that for a pretty much straight up adventure novel, the 500 page count is a bit too high The book drags a bit at times with some redundancies, and a tighter focus would have been appreciated On the other hand, I love the juxtaposition of the two monsters, as well as the surprisingly extensive character development The story is never actually dull, though some transitions between chapters do not run smoothly at all These choppy sections can be a bit confusing, which is the biggest pace killer in the book Ultimately, it s a fun and fresh fish story You may also read my review here the death of his wife, Chelsea, horror novelist Gavin Corlie is near suicide when he decides to move from his New York apartment to New Mannheim, 5 hours upstate The house is gorgeous, with three chimneys and a window that looks out over Lake Caldasac It s also perfect for a man that is trying to escape his past, and the ghost of his dead wife The fact that the house hasn t been lived in for over 60 years doesn t even put a hiccup in his plans After all, money isn t an object, and soon after he moves in, he finds a local handyman to get the house back up to snuff Hopefully, Gavin will settle into his new, quiet life in the small town of New Mannheim and get some writing done, and maybe even some healing Little does he know.Finn Horn is 13 and confined to a wheelchair after cancer that he didn t know he had eroded his spine until it finally collapsed when he was 10 years old He hasn t let his illness stop him, though The one thing he loves to do the most is fish, and even has his own boat with a rig made especially for him that allows him to not only board the boat by himself, but also pilot the boat and fish the waters of the deep, dark Lake Caldasac aka Dead End Lake One day, while out on the water, he hears a voice call to him from the direction of the old German place, which, of course, is the house that Gavin Corlie has just purchased Spooked, Finn turns tail and Gavin feels bad that he scared the kid, when all he wanted to do was let him know that he didn t mind him fishing in his bay As Finn makes his way back across the lake, Finn encounters the huge presence that occupies Lake Caldasac, and it has really big teeth.When Gavin hears the news that Finn was nearly killed in some sort of accident, he feels partially responsible, and when he visits Finn in order to make amends, a very unusual friendship is born Finn eventually recruits Gavin to help him find the creature that attacked his boat Finn knows he may not have long to live, and is determined to make his mark and go out famous, and nabbing the creature that has been the cause of than few deaths in the lake s history is how he plans to do it.Unfortunately, there is than one monster in New Mannheim When Sheriff Xavier Pope visits Gavin to question him about Finn s accident , Gavin immediately gets a bad feeling about the cop, and the visit doesn t end on a positive note Gavin has no idea how bad it actually is.Mannheim Rex is my first book by Robert Pobi, and it most definitely is not my last While it is the story of a rather nasty lake monster that s been eating tourists and the townsfolk of New Mannheim for years, what it s really about is the friendship between Gavin and Finn Finn is a pure delight, a little ball of strength, fearlessness, chutzpah, and smart mouth, and he teaches Gavin how to open his heart again Speaking of opening his heart, when Finn s doctor, Laurel, comes into his life, they begin a sweet romance that was very human, and very touching.What isn t very touching, or sweet, is the lovely Sheriff Xavier Pope This guy gives Hannibal Lector a run for his money Pope is everything you don t want a cop to be psychopathic, sociopathic, homicidal, and last, but certainly not least, a rapist Oh wait, I forgot drug addict The man pops bennies like skittles and he has a cockroach orchestra singing and dancing in his head almost constantly, cheering him on You do not want to get on this man s bad side Not that he has a good side, but still, you definitely want to stay way below his radar Unfortunately, Gavin catches his attention pretty quickly, and Pope really doesn t need much of a reason to kill someone, cause to him, it s just all in a day s fun Pope adds a really interesting, and creepy, subplot to an already compelling story and serves to complicate matters very nicely Also, you may find yourself laughing at some of his inner monologue, in spite of yourself It s black humor at its darkest, and lots of fun You ll cringe, for sure Mannheim Rex reminds me very much, in the best way, of early Dean Koontz in his Watchers, Strangers days , and Moby Dick references are inescapable This is one big fish story you ll never forget ^FREE DOWNLOAD ⇵ Mannheim Rex ↟ Recently Widowered And Grieving, Gavin Flees New York City For The Quiet Of The Country His New Home On Lake Caldasac Has Surprisingly Few Visitors, And The Author Soon Learns Why A Suspiciously High Number Of People Have Gone Missing In The Small Town The Deaths Have All Been Ruled Accidents, But Finn Horn, A Handicapped Boy Obsessed With Fishing, Knows The Truth There S A Monster In The Lake And It Wants To FeedThirteen Year Old Finn, Who Is Dying Of Cancer, Has Only One Last Wish To Go Down In The Record Books For Catching A Real Life Monster Battling Demons Of His Own, Gavin Joins Finn On His Perilous Quest To Slay The Nightmarish LeviathanAn Homage To The Blockbuster Jaws And The Classic American Novel Moby Dick, Mannheim Rex Is A Deep Dark Thriller That Switches Seamlessly Between Heartwarming Friendship And Heart Stopping Action