Saturday, September 19, 2009
Creepy. Dark. Twisted. Insane. Those are some words I would use to describe Brian Evenson’s macabre detective novel. There are other words I would use, but unfortunately such terms are not appropriate for a review. Don’t misunderstand me, though; I mean these terms in the most complimentary of ways. Evenson was sure as hell striving for a creepy, dark, twisted, insane, and macabre detective novel. And he succeeded, practically from page one. Last Days is about a fellow named Kline, a brutally dismembered detective who is unwittingly drafted into a bizarre cult of amputees to solve a murder. The more involved he becomes in the investigation, and the crazed cult of amputation-revering individuals, the more lies, deceptions, and threats are thrown his way. Soon he realizes that the only way he can escape this bizarre world and get his life back on track is to do something that will rely on sheer will…something drastic and possibly just as insane as the cult that has forced him into their service… Does that description paint a good picture of how creepy and twisted this novel is? I hope so. Last Days is one of the most twisted books I have ever read, and yet it is strangely addictive, almost infectious—much like a cult, actually. Each chapter progresses the plot at a rapid pace. This novel is not one that takes the time to slow down and let you settle it. It wants you to be on the edge of your seat, wondering what will happen next, who will come popping out of the wood works to screw things up for Kline. The fast-paced feel of the novel is precisely what makes it so infectious; each chapter made me want to know what would happen next, and how Kline would manage to get himself out of whatever new pickle had come his way. The only problem I have with Last Days is that it could have been somewhat longer to give Kline a bit more space to develop as a character. While I certainly rooted for Kline, I wanted to know more about who he was and where he had come from. Thankfully this flaw does not ruin the overall entertainment of the novel. If you’re into the macabre or need a twisted detective novel, then this is certainly for you. Or, if you just want something weird and twisted to read, then start with Last Days. It’s short, sweet, and does a fine job of making sure you’re uncomfortable, like going to a horror movie and knowing that the bad guy with the butcher knife is right around the corner and the main character doesn’t realize it… You can find out more about Last Days at Underland Press. If you’d like to learn more about Brian Evenson and his other books, then feel free to check out his website. Last Days is also available on Amazon and can probably be ordered from your local bookstore.