... a strange new entry into the problematic-male literary tradition ... Passages like this repeat for about two hundred and fifty pages, which is the meanest thing I’ll say about Monson’s book ... Once he digs up all his toxic artifacts, Monson—with a deep lack of conviction and confidence—holds up a mirror to reflect his findings onto his fellow problematic white men ... This is a risky, almost preposterous literary gambit. Monson presents himself in a fully earnest fashion, rips open his heart to expose all his flaws, and then asks you to care deeply about what is clearly a doomed and ultimately insignificant crisis. The book’s emotional eddies and nostalgic reveries add up to a trite point about media, masculinity, and violence, and still Monson is only partially willing to implicate himself in what he observes, repeatedly reminding us, for instance, that he feels appalled by the January 6th rioters. Reading Predator sometimes felt like reading a tweet thread from the most annoying white people on Twitter—the type who feel the need to very loudly condemn and apologize for their backward brethren ... And yet, against all odds, Monson pulls this off. Predator is not a pleasant read, but its moral oscillations and reveries fully capture white guilt in its most cringeworthy form. This, at least in my reading, is intentional. The book’s premise, its close reads into banal action scenes, and its simple ethics are absurd and ultimately quite funny ... At its best, the problematic-male confessional is an exercise in style, wherein the bombed-out minds of the protagonists offer up a stage upon which authors such as Johnson, Gilbert Sorrentino, or even Raymond Carver can write funny, occasionally grim, and always sentimental sentences ... how do you craft sentences that reflect you at your most depraved? Can the sequence of words you write on the page make the reader love you, despite everything you’re telling him about yourself? I am not sure if I succeeded in that task, but Monson, by spooling out the neuroses of the once violent, but now domesticated liberal man and never shying away from his own lameness, certainly has.
Monson’s narration has the rampant energy and good-natured, aw-shucks humility of a lively conversation in a movie theater lobby ... Some level of interest in the film is definitely required to understand what Monson is saying, but his storytelling spills over with tactile curiosity and fervor, making this work accessible to those who have seen the movie 145 fewer times than he has. It’s a book that will ignite conversation (and multiple film rewatches) for those who can relate to Monson’s familiar sentiment: 'I’m not angry at masculinity exactly but I do have questions for it.'”
Written in loose-jointed yet elegant prose that guiltily savors Predator’s pleasures, Monson’s subtle, twisty appreciations and critiques—'It’s satire wrapped in gun pornography.... tenderness wrapped in beefy macho posturing and explosive ballets'—transform the movie into a penetrating commentary on the contradictions of manhood. Movie buffs will want to snap this up.