Let me get something out of the way before I go into the main review. The Crud Masters by Justin Grimbol is based on The Outsiders, a classic novel many were forced to read during school. I, however, was not. I have never read it. I have never seen the movie. So I went into reading this novel cold, without any prior knowledge of the material that it parodies. That being said, take this review with a grain of salt.
The Crud Masters are a poor gang that lives in a Hamptons-like seaside town and is menaced by the rich kids of NOLA. However, the world’s shorelines are also being menaced by Dagoons, giant mutant creatures that come up from the ocean to attack coastal communities. No one knows where they have come from or why they are so aggressive.
Our main character, Boogers, suffers from a chronic case of nasal congestion after he was addicted to nasal spray and gave it up. The other Crud Masters include a cuddler, a brash loudmouth, a young girl, an old man, an aging blue sexbot, and a moddy (someone who has modified their body extensively, in this case to look like a bear). During a night about town, a couple of them encounter the NOLA kids who attack them with their Transformer. No, seriously, his car turns into a giant fighting robot. This leads to some bad blood and the demands for a rumble. But how can the Crud Masters hope to beat the NOLA kids when they have an unbeatable robot?
I’m not sure if it was just me or the fact that I haven’t read The Outsiders, but I had a bit of a hard time getting into this one. Don’t get me wrong. It’s an easy read, and the final climactic scene is certainly fun and satisfying, but for some reason the overall novel just didn’t quite click with me. The characters are well developed, to the point that I did feel a bit sad about the tragic end of one of them. The plot makes sense, or at least as much sense as a bizarro novel can.
I guess that my biggest problem is the pacing. The pace at which the plot flows feels uneven and jerky. Then again, the original could be the same way and I just don’t know it. I’m judging this book on its own merits.
The Crud Masters is part of the 2011-2012 New Bizarro Authors Series, which means that this is Justin Grimbol’s first published novel. It’s a respectable effort and I did enjoy it, but probably not as much I thought I would, especially based on the awesome cover art. Again, I may not be giving this novel a fair shake, but I have to give The Crud Masters by Justing Grimbol only 3 out of 5 rampaging monsters.