Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Book Review: Murderland Part 1 - H8 by Garrett Cook

Imagine a future where killing is legal and fashion is dictated by famous serial killers like Jack the Ripper, Gacy, Bundy, etc. and serial killers are celebrities, obsessed over by fans. “Reap Chic” dominates, and Reap kids dress to emulate their favorite serial killers, from Victorian garb for Jack the Ripper to clown suits for Gacy. Serial killers are called “psychopomps” and their kills are celebrated. Cafes and bars serve food like “The Sharon Tate” and the “Mary Kelly” and are decorated with serial killer letters, artwork and blood, much to the delight of most of the population.

This is the sickening future envisioned by Garrett Cook in his slim-yet-no-less-satisfying novella, Murderland Part 1 – H8. In Murderland, serial killers are rock stars, complete with groupies and their own merchandise. Yet, one moves amongst them undetected…and his name is Jeremy Jenkins. Jeremy is sickened by the behavior of most “psychopomps”, especially since he too is a killer…but one that kills with purpose. He is convinced that beings from another dimension are turning women into breeding machines…so he has to kill as many women as he can before they are impregnated by the “Dark Ones”. Jeremy just might be the most successful “psychopomp” out there, but he doesn’t seek celebrity…he just wants to save the world from the “Dark Ones”. Yet, as Jeremy finds himself running into more and more psychopomps, he is driven to kill these worthless “entertainers” as well.

Murderland is a very inventive and dark novella from Garrett Cook. From chapter to chapter it moves from first person to third person…and we also learn there is something else inside Jeremy controlling or guiding his actions. Cook has truly created a memorable world in Murderland. The Reap subculture is intriguing and seems entirely plausible, especially today when people already revere some serial killers (like the huge following behind Charles Manson). I loved Cook’s descriptions of all the crazy Reap kids and their different costumes, from the “Whitechapel whores” (Victorian) to the “Bundy girls” (prim college co-eds) and everyone in-between.

I also loved the progression of the character of Jeremy. Whether viewing him from his own perspective or an outside perspective I could never truly tell if he was just batshit insane or if there really was “Dark Ones” invading the world as he believed. This ambiguity just made the novel even more exciting and kept me on my toes. Also, while he acted like a monster when he killed the “impregnated” women, I actually enjoyed it when he went after the (in)famous serial killers who pissed him off. I also thought he was a very clever killer – killing his victims in different ways, leaving different signatures, etc. I had mixed feelings for Jeremy at the beginning of the novel, but he quickly grew on me and by the book’s end I couldn’t wait to read more about him!

Cook has written a very fast-paced, engaging novella with Murderland Part 1- H8. It ends with a real cliffhanger, and I can’t wait to read the next installment to see what happens next!

Order it on Amazon!

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