People are horrible creatures, right? To paraphrase an Internet meme, “we bomb our own, we poison our air and water, and we nailed one of our prominent god figures to a stick.” Violent and wild, the human race controls its environment rather than have our environment control us. So what happens when you take one of these creatures and pit it against its own, take a person who deals in the abstract violence of crime fiction and hand him over to a serial killer? You get Desert Places by Blake Crouch (author of Wayward and Pines, basis of the show Wayward Pines).
The novel tells the story of Andrew Thomas, prominent author, as he deals with a terrorizing figure attempting to educate him in the ways of murder. The serial killer frames him, kidnaps him, and carries out many gruesome acts of violence. Andrew struggles to deal with the situation and turn the tables on his attacker, but in the end, well, this ain’t a happy story.
The plot of the novel reads like a Saw or Hostel novelization. Take a normal guy, put him in an extreme situation filled with graphic violence, and watch him struggle against the forces against him both internal and external. Well written with dark brooding and interesting characters, Desert Places finds its place in horror and dabbles with the psychological aspects of psychopathy. It falls short in proving its point, that some people are just evil and do evil shit, but is entertaining none the less.
2004 - Mississippi - I found this book as one of, if not the first, books that were ever challenged in my library while I was a professional librarian. A little old lady picked it off the new shelf and was horrified by it, demanding we remove it from the collection. My boss read it and put it up in the fiction section where it died a slow death of non-exposure. I found it again in the book sale and picked it up for a quarter. Now, nearly a decade later, I present it to you.
"Dances and Dames"
Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0