MOMO by Kevin M. Kraft.
Author of THE W-3 CREW and S: A CONTEMPORARY RELIGIOUS FANTASY, comes a thrilling novella, based on his award-winning screenplay, with as much suspense as it does soul and as much terror as it touches the heart.
A father and son, on a weekend jaunt to the family cabin in the Missouri woodland, find themselves in a fight for survival a single night against a savage creature straight from the annals of cryptozoology…with courage, faith and a single cabin door as their only defense.
With dawn so far away, their generator running out of power and no means of calling for help, will these things be enough to allow even one of them to see another day?
Soon to be a major motion picture!
The Guru's Review:
The author requested me to review this new novella after finding me on Goodreads. This novella will be released later this month, (January 2015).
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. A real page turner and the second half when all the horror starts is very fast paced and absorbing. The first half is successful in developing the characters, Mark Taylor and his 16 year old son, Evan, and the relationship that is in need of some work and repair. I found them to be very real and relational. In a novel with this theme of healing a fractured father/son relationship, the characters need to be real in order for the author to deliver his message and the reader to relate to it. Kraft is successful here and this is one strength of this novel.
Kraft shows great insight into the father/son relationship and the dynamics that should exist, but in the majority of cases in reality, does not, resulting in fractured/estranged relationships between the two. In many respects, I wish my father had taken the initiative to do this with me, what Kraft has Mark do with his son. I really warmed to this relationship that he portrays with these two characters. He has made them honest with each other, real and admitting their shortcomings with themselves and each other. I also related well to the third male character that was very much a part of this novella although not there in a physical sense, that of Evan's grandfather. I loved the special bond that Kraft describes between the grandfather and grandson and how it is this that forms one aspect of the healing between Evan and his father.
I felt Evan's pain in the fractured relationship with his father and could identify with his request for acceptance and approval which is part of every son's heart towards his father,
"I know you love me dad. But...I don't think you like me much."
Mark sat there, totally cut to the quick. He opened his mouth to answer, but nothing came out.
Evan resumed, "Not all the time, Dad, but.... it's like you're trying make me into...well, you! You pressure me about the archery team, because your're a dead shot. You're teaching me because grandpa taught you.....I could not care less about bows and arrows.....and Dad.....I hate camping. I'm glad you wanna spend time with me, but you never take an interest in what I like, what I'm interested in. I'm not like you, dad. I have my own interests, things you would probably hate or find boring. But they mean a lot to me. And you've never even tried ... to find out about me. I want you to get to know me, Dad."
It is from this POV that motivates both characters to change the relationship between them. However, this was set in motion by the death of Evan's grandfather 3 weeks before this camping trip. It seems to me that Kraft has used the desperate, life threatening situation of survival against MOMO to illustrate that sometimes in life we have to hit rock bottom to realise what we need to do to rectify our human relationships and let God be God and learn to trust Him to show us the way to healing and understanding and acceptance of each other for who we are. Kraft successfully portrays this fight for survival as a means to show Evan that he can be confident, a deficit that concerns his father and that Evan wants to change.
The account of Evan taking charge when MOMO strikes and sets the odds against them, is great reading and I was cheering Evan on in proving to himself and his father what a strong and confident young man he is developing into, and quite the hero because of this. Kraft shines in this account. And Mark Taylor earns the respect of his son and finally accepts Evan for who he is. He has definitely found out more about his son by the end of their ordeal!
The horror aspects were not overdone and I liked this intensity as it did not detract from the real message of this novel, the healing of the father/son relationship. The horror setting of man against beast, is the platform to allow Mark and his son to allow themselves to understand each other, trust each other and heal each other. Kraft is successful here as well and this is another strength of this novel. That is not to say the horror and suspense is not there! It is and is described well and convincing and I must confess, my heart was racing and I was tense when reading MOMO's attack on Evan. I was also left hanging in anticipation, not knowing what happened when the chapter ended with the final confrontation between Mark and MOMO. This really did make you read on to find out.
Kraft has the spiritual aspects very subtle and not in great force but the effect is just as strong. I love some of his quotes that he has given to Mark and his father, such as,
Beyond your own strength is God's. Push yourself there.
Simple, short, but there is such a spiritual depth and wisdom to this and great encouragement. I love this one, and will become part of my encouragement to myself and others when the going gets tough. To me, this shows more about the spiritual side of this author. The other spiritual insights included in the rest of the novel also support this about Kraft. I had some reservations about this novel honouring God when I discussed reviewing it with the author, but I have no qualms about this now!
Kraft states that,
MOMO is very special among my writings indeed.
This definitely shows in this novel. I plan to interview him in the coming weeks so will discuss this more with him then. I look forward to this immensely.
For anyone who wants a short, entertaining, engrossing novel that educates along the way and encourages your faith and trust in God and that relationships can be healed by Him, specifically the father/son relationship, then this novel ticks all those boxes.