Monday, December 8, 2008

Succulent Prey

Some horror writers subtly build a structure of dread in their work. Others come at you strong from the beginning. Wrath James White smacks you in the head with his work, sending you reeling through his stories. Until recently, White was well-known only among those of us who read small press releases, but he has now burst out to a wider audience, with the publication of his novel Succulent Prey by Leisure Books.

Succulent Prey blends the serial killer genre with werewolf legend, suggesting that being a serial killer is something that can be caught like a disease and passed on to subsequent victims. Joseph Miles, the protagonist of the book, was kidnapped by a serial killer as a boy, and was the only victim to survive the killer. Now grown into a (very large and powerful) adult, he is now losing his struggle to suppress the same sort of urges in himself. When he begins to fail at this, he seizes on the only hope he has to break the chain - to track down and kill the one who gave it to him. Along with one of his female victims to whom he is attracted, he journeys to his home town in search of the one who molested him.

Wrath James White certainly fits into the category of transgressive authors. Succulent Prey is not for the squeamish, filled with sexual assault and as much cannibalism as I’ve ever seen in a book, but for those who can handle it, this is quite a book. White, whose earlier work Orgy of Souls was also reviewed here, is definitely a writer to watch. I also salute Leisure, which in the past seemed a bit reluctant to go too far, for publishing this.


John Hornor Jacobs said...

Damn, Kent, you're hitting us with a flurry of reviews.

I had the pleasure of meeting Wrath at WHC while his writing is aggressive, you'd never know it from his demeanor. He's as nice a gentleman as you could hope to meet. I was highly impressed.

We need to chat about Hernando, too.

KentAllard said...

Doing this gives the illusion I'm working. Heard the same thing about Wrath, who, BTW, has the coolest name in the biz. Absolutely, we need to have the Hernando talk. I'm in the process of putting back together what I lost in my most recent computer failure.