Mapping the Terrain of Used and Rare Books
“Slob” is an interesting horror/ noir book that I read very quickly and very much enjoyed. It is the story of Daniel “Chaingang” Bunkowski, a 500 lb serial-killer of unimaginable ferocity, and Jack Eichord, the intense Special Murders detective who is on his case.
The writing style is refreshingly unique – blending stream-of-consciousness, noir street-talk, omniscient narration, and sudden switches in focus from character to character, sometimes without transition, pulling it off seamlessly.
Chaingang is probably the scariest, most intense serial killer I’ve seen depicted in fiction. He is absolutely over the top, both in his killings and his back-story, but Mr. Miller provides all the right details to make the character very, very real. The internal mental and emotional struggles and urges that Chaingang experiences are written in a way that almost makes them scarier than the heinous murders themselves. You can feel the panic, the hatred, the loss of control.
One can start to see why the murderer is the way he is without sympathizing with him. And that’s a difficult thing to pull off in this genre. Chaingang is simply a Monster. A Monster possibly a product of circumstance, but a Monster nonetheless. He must be stopped; he cannot be rehabilitated.
Detective Eichord’s psyche is also examined. His struggles with alcoholism are not cliche – as they are in almost every novel of this type – but downright spot-on and slightly creepy. (At least to me, as someone whom has struggled with booze in the past.) The love affair he finds himself in is genuinely touching. You see him as a real human being.
So…. The book is uniquely well written and the two main characters are very well developed. But it has no real plot. And the ending is short and abrupt and, in my opinion, embarrassingly bad. I won’t say anything more about that as not to spoil things.
The two most interesting things in this book are Detective Eichodrs love-life, and the psychopathy of Chaingang’s splatterpunk murders. It’s more of a character study than a novel.
So to keep this from getting to long I will just say: If you want a good, gruesome psychological thriller I doubt it will waste your time – like I said, it’s short and reads quickly. But if you are looking for a lost masterpiece of modern horror, that I hear some people think it is, don’t bother. Some very brilliant elements put together in a less than brilliant – but still much better than average – book.
(Let me know what you think, and look at my other reviews!)