One simply can’t judge a book by the cover. That is certainly the case here with a picturesque cover that conceals an intensely brutal novella that has, among other elements, incest, bondage, rough sex, and plenty of violence and bloodbaths on nearly every page. Overall, this read is a good one featuring a large cast of characters, a number of backstories for each one, and multiple intense storylines. However, readers are warned that The Scent Of New Death by Mike Monson is very much an adult novel that will offend and horrify some readers.


It has been a bad June afternoon for Phil Gaines. After robbing a Wells-Fargo Bank branch in Pleasanton near San Francisco, his partner Jeff successfully drove them away from the bank and to a planned rendezvous with Phil’s wife, Paige. Then Phil’s meticulous plan went out the window and things went wrong in so many ways. Phil may practice “Zazen” (a form of mediation) and strive to live an ordered life so as to not draw attention to himself, but that is easier said than done. Zen training does not solve everything.


What follows is a hardboiled multilayered novella that is very graphic in terms of language, sexual situations and descriptions, and near constant violence.  Shifting between Phil, Jeff, Paige, and numerous other characters, author Mike Monson weaves multiple complicated backstories of the various characters into a very complicated present day situation.  An incredibly violent tale of lust and betrayal in and out of the bedroom, The Scent Of New Death builds to a dark climax that changes all who survive the final showdown.


Readers are again cautioned that storylines involving incest of a child of the age of 18, bondage, rough sex, as well as frequent brutal and bloody murders are present throughout the book. This is not a cozy style read in any way possible as everything is fully on the stage for the reader to see and experience. It simply can’t be stressed strongly enough that this is very much an adult read and only suitable for adult readers.


The Scent Of New Death

Mike Monson

Out Of The Gutter

April 21, 2014


E-Book (print also available)



Material supplied by the author in exchange for my objective review.



Kevin R. Tipple ©2014

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