Like a lot of monsters, Maribel Daniels wasn’t human. “Well, she was human,” corrected her younger sister Anya, “but she was also something else.” It was complicated.
According to local legend, Maribel was accosted 10 years ago by a bunch of guys. They raped her, killed her and dumped her lifeless body in Stoco Lake. At exactly the same time, a truck overturned on a nearby bridge and dumped unknown and highly toxic chemicals into the lake.
These chemicals replaced the blood in Maribel’s body and brought her back to life (sort of). As time went by, she mutated into a scaly blue fish-like monster with seaweed growing out of her skin. “Kind of like Swamp Thing,” said author Renee Miller.
Over the years, Maribel, now infamously known as the “Blood Lake Monster” (or BLM, for short), acquired a reputation with local girls for being an avenging angel. Explained one teen in a burst of exposition: “If you’ve got a guy who’s done you wrong, you can go to the lake and say a prayer to Maribel. She’ll do the rest.” In other words: the Blood Lake Monster will kill that loser boyfriend of yours dead.
Ten years later, Anya returned to the crime scene to solve her sister’s murder and stop the gendercide. She didn’t have any trouble figuring out what happened and who was involved. Figuring out Maribel’s wonky moral compass, however, gave her fits. She didn’t realize that her sister harbored a multi-monstrous agenda.
One particular scene near the end of the book sums up Maribel’s conflicting emotions thusly. When a local constable falls into the lake one morning, she darts toward him hungrily. “Her teeth sank deep into the soft skin of his belly. Blood filled the water like a red fog and swirled around her face like a caress.”
Before leaving his dead carcass to float to the bottom of the lake, Maribel plants a soft kiss on his open mouth. Said the author: “She then trailed her clawed fingers down his chest to open him up so the fish in the lake could feast.”
It’s not exactly fish sex, but it was a dramatic way for author Miller to describe her monster’s ravenous appetites. Sure, Maribel was angry. No one ever wants to be raped and killed and reborn as the She-Creature from the Black Lagoon. But she was also suffering from an unrequited ache that would haunt her for the rest of her existence. She was lonely.
[Blood Lake Monster / By Renee Miller / First Printing: July 2020 / ISBN: 9781989206508]