Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Last Days - by Brian Evenson

I want nothing more after reading this than to find the Novella that started the story. After reading too many books that all start to look the same, I was looking for something "different" and reading the back of the book cover, I could tell this would be it.

I realize there is a fetish out there for EVERYTHING and I know the fetish exists for amputation/ mutilation, but this book takes it to a whole new level creating a world where those involved are beyond fetishists and have created a cult surrounding the idea of "if they hand offends thee cut it off". Except they take it to a whole new level. After determining that removing one hand must bring you closer to God the only logical next step is that removing more limbs brings you even closer. And then what happens? Well what happens within any religion, hierarchies are created of those who have achieved a higher level of enlightenment and then sects split and form new versions of the same religion.

Into all of this craziness has stumbled a detective, Kline. After the word has spread that he allowed someone to remove his hand then cauterized the wound himself before killing that same person, the cult wants him as one of their own, it would seem. They bring him to help them investigate a murder... or is it robbery? Or maybe it's a smuggling operation... perhaps there's no investigation at all. As he finds his way through this crazy world and is introduced to more and more of the gruesome and obscene you can't help but wonder "will he join them?" "Will he decide that since he's already missing a limb that that is where he really belongs?"

This book is full of the unexpected, as Evenson manages to take a unique topic and approach it in a unique way keeping you reading and never sure what's going to happen next.

Evidently, this book was written as a continuation of a novella that he wrote years before, a novella that is very hard to find (hard enough that copies available on Amazon are selling for $95 and up). Maybe I'll get lucky and find it in a compilation somewhere, in the meantime I'm sure I'll be reading more from this author. His grasp of the macabre brings back my early memories of the joy of Edgar Allen Poe and his wonderful stories.

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