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Every month, TAB editor Kristin will be sharing her thoughts on five titles from our… Read More

June 1, 2016

Monster Juice: Could It Be Real?

A few days ago I sat down to open the mail and in the pile of magazines and bills was a strange envelope. It was stained and smelly, the handwriting was smeared, and I didn’t recognize the return address.


I opened the envelope carefully and out fell a book and a short note. Monster Juice: Fear the Barfitron was printed across the book’s cover. The note was written in spidery green ink and it contained a creepy warning about roaches. I wasn’t quite sure what to do. Should I read the book? Would it be worth the nightmares I’d surely get?


I quickly decided the answer was yes. I turned on all the lights in my living room and sat down to learn what fearful things M. D. Payne would introduce me to. The story opened with three mysterious beings trudging through a forest and a muddy creek. They were being chased by growling, slurping creatures…


The story evolved from there to introduce a boy named Chris Taylor. He seemed like many kids I’ve met—he had great friends, a caring family, and some tough school assignments. But Chris’s volunteer assignment at a strange nursing home raised the hairs on the back of my neck. Because the residents weren’t normal elderly folks…they were monsters. And it seemed as if they were out to drain the life from Chris. I was too scared to continue, yet I couldn’t stop. Despite jumping at every sound and shuddering at the frightening revelations, I had to know what happened to Chris.


By the time I’d finished the book, I was convinced. This story had to be based on fact. It didn’t feel far-fetched, it felt real. And if it was real, I needed to know more. Who was M. D. Payne? How did he get my address? And why was he warning me about roaches if there wasn’t something real for me to be worried about?


Just like that, I made another important decision. I needed to find M. D. Payne and ask him about his books, the monsters he wrote about, and just how he found me. It wouldn’t be easy, but I had to know more.

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October 30, 2013