I’ve covered the room in plastic-wrap. I’m wearing a double layer of thick nitrite gloves and an improvised suit of heavy-duty trash-bags and duct-tape. Today I’ve chosen a ceramic chef’s knife that came as a gift with a portable rotisserie. I had my doubts but the full tang felt magical in my hands.
I’ve a book to review today, reader; and I have to be transparent about something. I enjoy the intimacy of connecting you with what I’ve read. I like to allow the characters to speak for themselves, or show themselves in their natural glory. There’s a method to my madness, reader. Come along, I’ve something for you.
Here is Beverly Kilbourne, the anti-heroine of Sean McDonough’s debut novel, Beverly Kills, lying naked on an oak-table. She’s staring at the ceiling. She’s held down by one-hundred gage polyolefin shrink-wrap. Her eyes are so perfect: such shiny orbs of piercing azure, such calculated and sustained giddiness in those mounds of clear glass.
To kill or not to kill.
“How do I feel about you, Beverly?” About your account? About your adventure through drunken parties, high-school plays and graduation? About the nature of your dilemma? If you should run away invested in killing, leaving all the love you’ve ever known behind?
“I’m not sure about that, yet, Beverly. Though in the time I’ve spent with you here, there are some things I’ve learned to like about you and your story:
“One, despite your cover, that I don’t particularly care for, and the violence that fills your pages with copious amounts of blood, and the bland and cheesy allusions (Beverly Kilbourne likes to KILL – and where does she live? Damn sure not the Jersey Shore, I tell ya that) – you know how to make me laugh: because you understand what makes a good nobody. And you don’t seem to take yourself too seriously, do you?
“I suppose that solidifies your first weakness, though: your lack of memorable and relatable characters. The exception is Curtis, of course. He was a riot. It’s a shame he didn’t play a bigger role in this gore-fest.
“And, speaking of gore-fest, you sure like to kill don’t you Beverly? Ever since you were young it’s been a compulsion with very little reason. It eats at you and makes you restless, makes you hot in your school-colored skivvies.”
She had something to say about that apparently…
I was a killer. I loved doing it and I was good at it. All
I wanted was to keep doing it and keep getting better at
-From Beverly Kills by Sean McDonough.
“Yes, we’ve established that, Beverly.
“And to your merit, your story, in spite of its simplistic, surface-level nature, managed to offer many pleasant and macabre surprises as it lingered on. It was like a straightaway of a hairpin turn, sending me hurtling down the torn pavement, keeping the secret as to what waited on the other side: will you twist me around for another turn or descend deeper down the steep mountain-side? You were so cliché yet you compelled me to move forward, Beverly.”
I clapped my hands.
One, two, three.
“You know what hurts me about this, Beverly? About reading your twisted story: about watching you balance killing hipsters with finishing your homework in calculus?
“The missed opportunities, Beverly. Surely there’s more of a reason for you to be this fucked up, isn’t there?
“How did you manage to get so goddamn good at killing anyway, Beverly? Don’t you think it’d be more interesting if you had a slip-up, or even two? As much sex as you’ve had in Beverly Hills, surely you’ve experience a scare before: even if only because you stopped feeling the security of the condom.
“I like you, Beverly. I just wish there was more to you.
“I wish your experiences sounded less like an autopsy report. You don’t have to spell it out for me, Beverly: that you’ve shoved something sharp into my esophagus. Give me enough and I can feel that out myself. It’s called subtlety.
“Strangely enough, Beverly, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading about you. If I hadn’t been exposed to splatterpunk before I might have enjoyed this even more; there’s something tangible about this story: something that sticks in your teeth like buttery popcorn.
“Yes, popcorn; you’d make a good snack, Beverly.”
Final Rating: 3.5/5
About The Author: S.T. King is an aspiring novelist with a ravenous appetite for the dark, and an insatiable thirst for the ink of the fantastique. Currently he’s a mental health counselor, helping people purge the skeletons from their closets – though admittedly, he thinks it’s more fun putting them back in.