Rise of the Thing Down Below by Daniel W. Kelly

Retro Review

Rise of the Thing Down Below by Daniel W. Kelly
Not Monsterporn, 288 pages
The boys and bears of Comfort Cove are counting the days until the opening of the sexually charged boardwalk attraction SandMen Strip. But before the naked fun in the sun can begin, the mutilated bodies of a few burly dockworkers wash up on the sand. 

Suspicion falls on the cute young owners of SandMen Strip, but local paranormal investigator Deck Waxer has to look at all the possibilities, including new faces in town. There’s the cocky two-and-a-half foot tall artist named Little Larry Long. The city’s mayor is hiding some unnaturally large life form in his mansion. And even trusted religious leader Father Merrin has been keeping a troubled young psychic a secret from the public. 

As the body count rises, the angry and scared dockworkers target Deck’s crew of sex-loving friends, unaware of the real terror that has surfaced in Comfort Cove: a grotesque evolutionary mutation from deep down below.

I expected a fun monster romp when I saw the cover for Rise of the Thing Down Below. Wouldn’t you? Though there are a lot of vividly written and sometimes over the top sexy times going on here, they’re not with a monster (boo!). The monster has a small community in fear for their lives but other than that he hasn’t really made much of a splash in the rest of the plot. It’s more a story about a bunch of men hooking up, having fun and creating amusing new boardwalk sexcapade attractions for their beachfront community. There are also two adorable pups and some decently written friendships and a lot of cheeky humor. I’m down with all of that and I can go with the flow if a book hooks me but, most unfortunately, this one would hook me with some cute couple or turn of phrase, then lose me, hook me again, then quickly lose me. Several weeks later, at about 75% of the way in, I had to call it a day, give it a DNF, and get on with my reading life. Here’s why:

There are so many characters and couples introduced in this story that I spent the first 50 or so pages straining my brain to remember who was who and who was humping who. Eventually I caught on but by then my poor brain was toast. And then at about 75% complete (or so) more men are introduced! That's when I had to call it quits. The book would shift from one couple/trio to the next and reference past events and it was too much for me.

I’m so sad right now. I thought this story was meant for me but it wasn’t meant to be.

This, of course, is completely my fault. This is a middle of a series book which I didn’t realize when I requested it from Netgalley (I will not lie, that cover & blurb sucked me in). If you’ve read the previous books recently or have a brain that works better than mine, you more than likely won’t have any such problem. I also read in 30 minute increments on a good day so that did not help. If you have a large chunk of time to sit down and read this in one sitting you probably won’t have as much of a struggle. Alas, this is not my life and I will not force myself to finish a book anymore.

I’ll finish this up with a few of my notes. Yep, sometimes I actually take them.

1. A fish man arises from the sea, slimy appendage at the ready. Yes!

2. Men start turning up dead. Uh oh!

3. If you’ve read the previous books you’ll probably be thrilled to meet all of the previous characters who keep on coming as the book continues. Yeah, I see what I did there.

4. There is a lot of crazy, over the top, messy sex. It’s more amusingly campy than arousing, if you ask me (and I know you didn’t).

5. There are adorable puppies! Puppies make almost everything better.

6. There are so many sex-crazed men in this town that we don’t have enough time to get to know many of them very well. But you may already know them very well from previous books, perhaps?

7. I’m selfish. I prefer a more intimate story with a small handful of characters. But that’s me.

8. That’s all I’ve got because I’m a quitter.

*I received an ARC of this novel from Netgalley. Thanks Netgalley!


  1. OK, you had me until the adorable puppy comment - how does this book incorporate adorable puppies, or do I really want to know? Very interesting review! Sorry you couldn't finish it!

    1. One of the many couples has a cute little pup. No worries, nothing purvy happens to him :) He is quite a little character too. It's too bad the book was so bogged down with so much other stuff.


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