Friday, March 13, 2009

Exquisite Corpse, by Poppy Z. Brite

(pb; 1996)

From the back cover:

"To serial slayer Andew Compton, murder is an art, the most intimate art. After feigning his own death to escape from prison, Compton makes his way to the United States with the ambition of bringing his art to new heights. Tortured by his own perverse desires, drawn to possess and destroy young boys, Compton inadvertantly joins forces with Jay Byrne, a dissolute playboy who has pushed his art to limits even Compton hadn't previously imagined. Together, Compton and Byrne set their sights on an exquisite young Vietnamese-American runaway, Tran, whom they deem to be the perfect victim. . ."


Bleak, uncompromising and gory, this shocker isn't for readers who prefer "mainstream" horror.

Brite's homoerotic splatterfest is political, sexual and graphic in its descriptions of New Orleans debauchery, serial killer-style. The writing is edgy, of course (as is all Brite's horror writing) and concise, spiced with poetic bursts of savagery and sex. The characters are fully-realized and -fleshed, with the novel's twists consistently linked to the characters' personalities.

This is one of my all-time favorite horror novels, not only for the able, edgy writing, but for the, uh, guts it took to write this. If you're into true, heart-of-existential-darkness horror, read this; if not, don't.

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