So I don't usually read horror novels or stories. I'm a visual person but every now and then a book is so well written and the horror so well described I can visualise is as easily as if I was watching it on screen. Only time this has really happened with a horror is Stephen King so when a friend brought round some books for me to try, mostly crime and I found a book by "Poppy Z Bright" amongst them I thought why not.
Exquisite Corpse is the story of two serial killers. One a London based gay necrophiliac who escapes from the confines of his prison cell and travels across the pond and the other a gay cannibal with a liking for young tourists and runaways in New Orleans.
The first killer, Andrew Compton tells his story from the first person in past tense. Getting us deep into the mind of a psychopath. The depth Bright goes into to describe who he is and what he does is intense. Stomach churning accounts of how he murders, rapes and tears apart (in that order) his victims made me nauseous I could smell the blood and other bodily fluids. Compton is complex. The almost genuine love he feels for his victims is poetic and twisted.
Jay, our second killer is told from the third person and while his character is less complex and in depth as Compton he's still an interesting person. Jay is a wealthy man who uses his money to entice young homeless boys to his home where he drugs them, has sex with them and eventually kills them. Eating some, storing others for later use. Eventually the killers meet causing the perfect storm, you can see where it's going to go.
The theme seems to be HIV and Aids amongst gay men in the 80's. All the characters are male, gay and most of them HIV positive. One character, a complicated man named Luke life has been destroyed by testing positive for the virus and as during that time little was known about its cause or effects Luke is angry and in pain mentally and yearns for his ex lover, Tran, a Vietnamese homosexual who is a disgrace to his traditional family.
As far as horror goes, it's not supernatural but pure human destruction. The scariest kind. The story is captivating, devastating and brutal. The descriptions of the characters actions are vivid and in depth. During the climax if I hadn't been in the bath while reading I would have needed a scrub down afterwards!
I highly recommend this book for those intrigued by the criminal mind. It is written like an erotic novel but there is nothing titillating only provocative. I will be seeking out Brights other books but after reading Exquisite Corpse I will have fairly high expectations.