There are some books what have convoluted plots. There are some books that have complex characters. There are even some books that have confusing settings. Each of these may make a story seem rather twisted.
But it’s not that kind of twisted I was thinking of when I read Blake Crouch’s “Desert Places.” I thought then that the characters were rather unique, and Crouch found his way into the darkest reaches of the human mind. I was going to write something about it immediately after reading it, but I had to do a little bit of reviewing in my mind. I had to turn things over a little bit, because there was just so much that happened in the book that I wasn’t sure what to think even. But Twisted was the first thing to come to mind.
Before I started writing this review, I thought it might be best to read the sequel, yes, there is a sequel, and it stars some of the same characters, and yes, it’s also a deep look into some of the darkest places imaginable. That book was called “Locked Doors” and it featured a “what to read” at the end of it for the next book in the series, which combines Andrew Thomas, Luther Kite, and Jack Daniels. Jack Daniels is a character from another author, JA Konrath, who is also co-writing this third book in the series. I wonder if it will be the last.
Now, the list of books that is presented at the end of Locked Doors is a chronological list of stores that includes works from both authors, but they do say that reading these is not necessary. Lucky for me, I happened on one or two of the Jack Daniels books and a few others by JA Konrath (also known as Jack Kilborn and Joe Kimball, each with their own “area” of expertise)
I thoroughly enjoyed the Jack Daniels novel I read not long ago and spoke briefly about it here. I’m addicted to Jack Kilborn and his stories, and they seem to fit well with Crouch’s. So I considered briefly what, if any, of those other books I should add to my collection. The one I did finally decide to read, before the review you’re reading here, is “Serial Killers”, or more precisely, “Serial Killers Uncut.”
Twisted, abso-freakin-lutely twisted! These two have put together some really scary characters, who do some really scary things to complete strangers. “Serial Killers” is a “What if” book, and discusses what happens on some of those dark highways late at night. What happens when you’re hitchhiking, or picking up hitchhikers, and find yourself in the company of a serial killer? Being taken by a killer, and having bad things happen to you, is a story point that has seen the light of day in other works, but the things these particular killers do, and the details brought to you by these twisted minds, is boggling to the mind.
Remember when I said I had to do a little bit of reviewing in my head before I wrote anything? Well, even that has proved to be difficult, it’s a little difficult to comprehend why someone would want to do some of these things, and at the same time, it’s hard to imagine how someone even thinks up this stuff!
Crouch is definitely in a class apart, I don’t even think the early Stephen King books can compare to the thought processes that must be going on in his head, and King is one of my favorite authors, because of his scary side.
“Desert Places” and “Locked Doors” really goes two ways into the human mind. One way into the depraved place that is rarely visited by most “normal” folks, and another into the extremes we will go through for ourselves and our loved ones, in order to protect us/them. There are two main characters, and as it works out, they are fraternal twins, one is completely demented, and does very twisted things to strangers in a shed literally in the middle of nowhere, the other is a crime author, who writes about the same stuff. It is posited that they both share the same mind, with a similar conscience, only one listens, an the other does not.
The evil twin makes it his work to bring his brother over to his side, and it’s a horrific ride all the way along.
I can only talk of these two books for now, I’ll be back with thoughts on Serial Uncut, and the end of the saga shortly, but for now know, for a thrilling, horrific good time, these are really, really god books.