Gray, a grave robber, had uncovered a most unthinkable find, a young girl in the clutches of the most horrible monster, its midriff near her head and its mouth open, teeth gleaming. Warthrop, a monstrumologist (a studier of life forms mostly malevolent to humans) by profession recognizes the monster at once: an anthropophagi, from the Greek people-eater. According to the Encyclopedia Mythica (and The Monstrumologist), They have a little brain located near their reproductive organs, their eyes are in their shoulders and their mouths are in the center of their chests. They were made popular by William Shakespeare in Merry Wives of Windsor (1602) and Othello (1605), but were part of English lore before that. In the 5th century BCE, Herodotus wrote&about cannibalism practiced by tribes inhabiting the region of the Euxine (Black Sea). He called them the Androphagoi, or man-eaters.
Warthrop, whose father had a similar interest, sets about studying the specimen. Of course, it is imperative that Gray and Warthrop return the girl to her rightful resting spot. However, upon their return to cemetery the next night, there is evidence of a tribe of anthropophagi, 25 35 of them, living in the area.
Given that they eat every few days, Warthrop thinks New Jerusalem is safe for a bit but when the next day the local pastors family is found decimated, he realizes that he must re-think his theories. He calls in John Kearns, noted monster hunter, to help exterminate these repulsive creatures before more people are brutally eaten. Kearns unorthodox ways horrify all involved. Meanwhile, Warthrop must find out how this species, native to Africa, made its way to America and what role his father might have played in this macabre spectacle.
The Monstrumologist is my first Rick Yancey book, but will no doubt not be my last. The eerie gothicness of the late 1800s is a perfect setting for the book. He has introduced marvelous characters such as Kearns and Varner, captain of the ship Feronia which transported four specimen from Africa, Will Henrys parents, and Warthrop himself, the stereotypical scientist, not eating for days while in the clutches of his work. Yancey brings emotion to the characters, the distant yet tender relationship of Will Henry and Warthrop, their disgust at Kearns, and Warthrops hidden but genuine humanity. There is action galore and for those less timid, lots of blood and guts. Yummmm! Yuck! The Monstrumologist will grab your interest immediately and once you sink your teeth into it, you will not let go.