Good luck getting your hands on this very rare book nowadays…
http://disturbingbooks.livejournal.com/28701.html

TITLE: Becoming a Successful Mass Murderer or Serial Killer: the Complete HandbookAUTHOR: Lonnie KiddAVAILABILITY: ScarceWHAT’S IT ABOUT: This book gets repeat mention in books by professionals who ought to know better as “a manuscript in progress.” From the way they tell it, this is a scribbled-in and bloodstained composition book such as those written by John Doe in the movie Seven. It’s not. It’s a slender, self-published volume in glorious black and white that tells you how to embark on a successful career as a killer. The back of the book says that you can learn how to:   — decide if you have what it takes to blow away any group of people you choose,  — select, stalk, and attract members of that group,  — kill them anyway you like,  — dispose of their bodies or place them where they can easily be found,  — create your professional image and get the publicity you deserve,  — avoid getting caught,  — select a lawyer to win the verdict you want,  — plead your case and handle yourself in court,  — market your skills and experience to governmental agencies and foreign groups,  — sell books and movie rights; fame and fortune will be yours.However, this is a work of satire. The author was extremely angry about the way law enforcement and mass media treated certain sorts of crimes. When Patrick Kearney killed 28 young men who were believed to be gay, homicide cops referred to his murder series as the “fag in a bag” killings. When dozens of women in Seattle, WA went missing, their disappearances and deaths went largely unmentioned at first because they were ‘just’ prostitutes. Law enforcement officials have linkage blindness, but Henry Lee Lucas can clear 213 murder cases in Texas on his word alone. Some killers gain celebrity like pop stars, and Manson still boosts ratings for television news magazines. Kidd tackles these issues around the same time as Oliver Stone did (early 90’s) with Natural Born Killers, and to much the same effect. Some people understood the satire, some didn’t, and others were believed to have taken the material so seriously that they were inspired to kill.You could make a persuasive case that the satire fails in this case, because the book is quite disturbing and there’s no real way to tell just from reading it that the author doesn’t mean everything he says. Of course there is a disclaimer on the first page, but that’s the sort of thing anyone would include if they didn’t want to be sued when some nutbar committed a crime. Technically, I suppose, the author could have been serious. Ian Brady authored a book of his insights into serial murder, albeit one that only gives insight into Ian Brady. I had been assured of Lonnie Kidd’s intent, though, by the bookseller who said that she knew who he was. (I understand that it was hypocritical of me to need that reassurance. I turned down a free offer of Brady’s book because I didn’t want to read the sociopathic wanking of someone who got off on torturing little kids, but I was willing to buy what might well be a murder instruction manual masquerading as humor.)Do I recommend it? I do. It’s an early critical examination of the social issues surrounding serial and mass murder. It’s sarcastic and angry, and that kind of passion is seldom evident in most books on the subject. I don’t recommend it $75 worth, which is what I’ve seen it sell for online, but if you find it for a sensible amount of money, check it out.

Good luck getting your hands on this very rare book nowadays…

http://disturbingbooks.livejournal.com/28701.html

TITLE: Becoming a Successful Mass Murderer or Serial Killer: the Complete Handbook
AUTHOR: Lonnie Kidd
AVAILABILITY: Scarce
WHAT’S IT ABOUT: This book gets repeat mention in books by professionals who ought to know better as “a manuscript in progress.” From the way they tell it, this is a scribbled-in and bloodstained composition book such as those written by John Doe in the movie Seven. It’s not. It’s a slender, self-published volume in glorious black and white that tells you how to embark on a successful career as a killer. The back of the book says that you can learn how to: 
  — decide if you have what it takes to blow away any group of people you choose,
  — select, stalk, and attract members of that group,
  — kill them anyway you like,
  — dispose of their bodies or place them where they can easily be found,
  — create your professional image and get the publicity you deserve,
  — avoid getting caught,
  — select a lawyer to win the verdict you want,
  — plead your case and handle yourself in court,
  — market your skills and experience to governmental agencies and foreign groups,
  — sell books and movie rights; fame and fortune will be yours.

However, this is a work of satire. The author was extremely angry about the way law enforcement and mass media treated certain sorts of crimes. When Patrick Kearney killed 28 young men who were believed to be gay, homicide cops referred to his murder series as the “fag in a bag” killings. When dozens of women in Seattle, WA went missing, their disappearances and deaths went largely unmentioned at first because they were ‘just’ prostitutes. Law enforcement officials have linkage blindness, but Henry Lee Lucas can clear 213 murder cases in Texas on his word alone. Some killers gain celebrity like pop stars, and Manson still boosts ratings for television news magazines. Kidd tackles these issues around the same time as Oliver Stone did (early 90’s) with Natural Born Killers, and to much the same effect. Some people understood the satire, some didn’t, and others were believed to have taken the material so seriously that they were inspired to kill.

You could make a persuasive case that the satire fails in this case, because the book is quite disturbing and there’s no real way to tell just from reading it that the author doesn’t mean everything he says. Of course there is a disclaimer on the first page, but that’s the sort of thing anyone would include if they didn’t want to be sued when some nutbar committed a crime. Technically, I suppose, the author could have been serious. Ian Brady authored a book of his insights into serial murder, albeit one that only gives insight into Ian Brady. I had been assured of Lonnie Kidd’s intent, though, by the bookseller who said that she knew who he was. (I understand that it was hypocritical of me to need that reassurance. I turned down a free offer of Brady’s book because I didn’t want to read the sociopathic wanking of someone who got off on torturing little kids, but I was willing to buy what might well be a murder instruction manual masquerading as humor.)

Do I recommend it? I do. It’s an early critical examination of the social issues surrounding serial and mass murder. It’s sarcastic and angry, and that kind of passion is seldom evident in most books on the subject. I don’t recommend it $75 worth, which is what I’ve seen it sell for online, but if you find it for a sensible amount of money, check it out.

http://disturbingbooks.livejournal.com/28072.html
BETTER TO REIGN IN HELL: Serial Killers, Media Panics, and the FBI by Stephen Milligan

As recommended by one of my lovely now co-moderators (she wasn’t yet when this post was made back in the day!):

This is the book I chose when I won the Disturbing Books raffle because I had just discovered it was still in print. I’ve been interested in the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit for many years, starting with their involvement in the Atlanta Child Murders. I had a complete uncritical respect for everything they did, so I bought all the books, read the articles, and watched the TV specials. What I hasn’t learned was the degree to which a lot of their numbers were inflated to secure more funding, or that the very construction of the archetypical serial killer was just plain wrong in a lot of ways. Critical analysis books are few and far between, This book isn’t a critique of the FBI, exactly, it’s more about the use of fear to generate money both for law enforcement and for the entertainment industry. This is a book with a political bias, in that it blames the Reagan White House and the “New Right” specifically for creating this social environment, but it offers data from primary sources so that you can do your own research if so inclined.I’m into analysis of the social and cultural side effects of the serial murder phenomenon, so I enjoyed this book for the author’s willingness to tackle a complex subject and to support an unpopular position with good data. I recommend it to anyone with a deep interest in law enforcement and media.

http://disturbingbooks.livejournal.com/28072.html

BETTER TO REIGN IN HELL: Serial Killers, Media Panics, and the FBI by Stephen Milligan

As recommended by one of my lovely now co-moderators (she wasn’t yet when this post was made back in the day!):

This is the book I chose when I won the Disturbing Books raffle because I had just discovered it was still in print. I’ve been interested in the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit for many years, starting with their involvement in the Atlanta Child Murders. I had a complete uncritical respect for everything they did, so I bought all the books, read the articles, and watched the TV specials. What I hasn’t learned was the degree to which a lot of their numbers were inflated to secure more funding, or that the very construction of the archetypical serial killer was just plain wrong in a lot of ways. Critical analysis books are few and far between, 

This book isn’t a critique of the FBI, exactly, it’s more about the use of fear to generate money both for law enforcement and for the entertainment industry. This is a book with a political bias, in that it blames the Reagan White House and the “New Right” specifically for creating this social environment, but it offers data from primary sources so that you can do your own research if so inclined.

I’m into analysis of the social and cultural side effects of the serial murder phenomenon, so I enjoyed this book for the author’s willingness to tackle a complex subject and to support an unpopular position with good data. I recommend it to anyone with a deep interest in law enforcement and media.

A likely choice for our March 2014 book club read: WHITE IS FOR WITCHING by Helen Oyeyemi. It was first recommended long ago (seven years!) and we may finally have a chance to read it together…
http://disturbingbooks.livejournal.com/12342.html

“Miranda is at home—homesick, home sick …”As a child, Miranda Silver developed pica, a rare eating disorder that causes its victims to consume nonedible substances. The death of her mother when Miranda is sixteen exacerbates her condition; nothing, however, satisfies a strange hunger passed down through the women in her family. And then there’s the family house in Dover, England, converted to a bed-and-breakfast by Miranda’s father. Dover has long been known for its hostility toward outsiders. But the Silver House manifests a more conscious malice toward strangers, dispatching those visitors it despises. Enraged by the constant stream of foreign staff and guests, the house finally unleashes its most destructive power.With distinct originality and grace, and an extraordinary gift for making the fantastic believable, Helen Oyeyemi spins the politics of family and nation into a riveting and unforgettable mystery.

A likely choice for our March 2014 book club read: WHITE IS FOR WITCHING by Helen Oyeyemi. It was first recommended long ago (seven years!) and we may finally have a chance to read it together…

http://disturbingbooks.livejournal.com/12342.html

Miranda is at homehomesick, home sick …”

As a child, Miranda Silver developed pica, a rare eating disorder that causes its victims to consume nonedible substances. The death of her mother when Miranda is sixteen exacerbates her condition; nothing, however, satisfies a strange hunger passed down through the women in her family. And then there’s the family house in Dover, England, converted to a bed-and-breakfast by Miranda’s father. Dover has long been known for its hostility toward outsiders. But the Silver House manifests a more conscious malice toward strangers, dispatching those visitors it despises. Enraged by the constant stream of foreign staff and guests, the house finally unleashes its most destructive power.

With distinct originality and grace, and an extraordinary gift for making the fantastic believable, Helen Oyeyemi spins the politics of family and nation into a riveting and unforgettable mystery.

We’re back! Yay!

Our book club reads for January and February have been chosen by our members, so please feel free to join us and get in on the conversation: http://disturbingbooks.livejournal.com/211551.html

First up: JOSIE AND JACK by Kelly Braffet:

In Josie and Jack, Kelly Braffet gives us a deliciously dark, suspenseful debut novel in the tradition of Patricia Highsmith.

Beautiful, brilliant, and inseparable, Josie and Jack Raeburn live a secluded, anarchic existence in their decaying western Pennsylvania home. The only adult in their lives is their rage-prone father, a physicist, whose erratic behavior finally drives them away. Without a moral compass to guide them, Jack leads Josie into a menacing world of wealth, eroticism, and betrayal. His sociopathic tendencies emerge, and soon Josie must decide which is stronger: the love and devotion she feels for her brother or her will to survive.

From its opening page to its shocking climax, this contemporary Hansel and Gretel story is compulsively readable and hugely entertaining.

In February we’ll be reading Katherine Dunn’s GEEK LOVE, and we’ll announce the next couple of titles as chosen by our members then as well. 

Happy New Year!

A double-header today before we take a brief posting hiatus!

http://disturbingbooks.livejournal.com/26877.html

Here we have two books by Poppy Z. Brite, both recommended by a Disturbing Books LJ member some time ago: "DRAWING BLOOD" and  "EXQUISITE CORPSE."

As our member said in the original post: “[Exquisite Corpse] is downright graphic and haunted me with the sex/death combo, and [Drawing Blood] was just gutwrenching with the first chapter’s graphic description of a little boy witnessing murders.”

First, about "DRAWING BLOOD":

From Publishers Weekly

Brite ( Lost Souls ) comes into her own in this second novel that should establish her as not only an adept in the horror genre, but also as a singularly talented chronicler of her generation. Five-year-old Trevor McGee wakes one morning to find that his father, cartoonist Bobby McGee, has murdered his mother and younger brother, then hanged himself. Twenty years later, Trevor, now a cartoonist himself, returns to Missing Mile, N.C. (a fictional town also featured in Lost Souls ), and the now-haunted house of his youth for answers: Why did his father choose to spare his life? What prompted the loss of creativity which Trevor himself now dreads? Meanwhile, 19-year-old Zachary Bosch, himself the tormented result of disturbed parents, arrives in Missing Mile on the lam for computer hacking. The two fall in love, and, with Zach’s help, Trevor finds that he can reach the horrible but liberating truth the house holds for him. Though subplots and secondary characters sometimes hamper the pace of the main plot line, they do serve to evoke a certain 20-something, cyberpunk-era zeitgeist that resonates with the concerns of contemporary youth. 

From Library Journal

Zach and Trevor are young men who fall in love in a haunted house where Trevor’s father murdered his family and killed himself, sparing only Trevor. An underground cartoonist like his dead father, Trevor has returned to the crumbling house in rural Missing Mile, North Carolina, to learn why his father spared him. Zach is a hacker on the run. He is a popular and exotic extrovert while Trevor is a painfully introverted virgin. With the help of Zach and psilocybin, Trevor confronts his father in Birdland, the comic town that his father created, even as the FBI traces Zach to Missing Mile. Drawing Blood is a flawed but compelling story. It’s labeled “psychological horror,” but the horror gives way to a suspenseful, offbeat gay romance. The first half, where Brite’s powerful characterizations and settings are drawn, is hard to put down. But the haunted house is tame, and Trevor’s struggle to learn to love Zach lingers overlong in homoerotic material, straining the momentum. The FBI arrives in time, however, to lend some suspense to the ending.

And now "EXQUISITE CORPSE":

Amazon.com Review

You’ve probably heard that this love story about two cannibalistic serial killers (loosely modeled after Dennis Nilsen and Jeffrey Dahmer) is over the top. You’ve been warned about the lovingly meticulous descriptions of murder and necrophilia. But the novel also features a keen look at the AIDS plague, in a setting almost worth dying for: Brite’s doomed aesthetes dance in a sweet, heady New Orleans of milky coffee and beignets, alligators, Billy Holiday tunes, scented candles, pirate radio, swamp French, andouille sausage and one bar for every 175 people. And the structure is the tightest of Brite’s books so far.

From Publishers Weekly

Blood-soaked sheets, cannibalism, rotting, half-dissected corpses: this gruesome psychological horror novel has all the grue a reader might?or might not?want. Brite (Drawing Blood, 1993), the reigning queen of Generation-X splatterpunks, pulls out the stops in this ghastly tale of two serial killers who find true love over the body of a murdered and mutilated boy in the historic French Quarter of New Orleans. Londoner Andrew Compton, imprisoned for the necrophiliac slayings of 23 young men, escapes from prison by (rather unbelievably) faking his own death and killing the coroners gathered to autopsy his body. Fleeing to Louisiana, he hooks up with Jay Byrne, slacker scion of a wealthy old family, a man whose murders are even more fiendish than Compton’s own. Brite is a highly competent stylist with a knack for depicting convincing, if monstrous, characters. Her plot development rests too heavily on coincidence, however, and on an excess of details drawn from the life of real-world serial killer and cannibal Jeffrey Dahmer. Though Brite shifts point of view throughout, she always returns to Compton’s first person. This technique gives the narrative rhythm and emotional force but also seems aimed toward intimating the reader in Compton’s acts of dehumanization (“the aesthetics of dismemberment”) and depravity. And so what Brite really presents here is, ultimately, yet another crimson leaf in the literature of the pornography of violence.

We used to have raffles in our Disturbing Books LJ Community; we really ought to start doing that again, as it has led to posts such as this one, about a book called “BETTER TO REIGN IN HELL: SERIAL KILLERS, MEDIA PANICS, AND THE FBI” by Stephen Milligen.
http://disturbingbooks.livejournal.com/28072.html
Here’s what our recommending member had to say about it:

TITLE: Better to Reign in Hell: Serial Killers, Media Panics and the FBIAUTHOR: Stephen MilligenAVAILABILITY: Easy to find online
WHAT’S IT ABOUT: This is the book I chose when I won the Disturbing Books raffle because I had just discovered it was still in print. I’ve been interested in the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit for many years, starting with their involvement in the Atlanta Child Murders. I had a complete uncritical respect for everything they did, so I bought all the books, read the articles, and watched the TV specials. What I hasn’t learned was the degree to which a lot of their numbers were inflated to secure more funding, or that the very construction of the archetypical serial killer was just plain wrong in a lot of ways. Critical analysis books are few and far between, This book isn’t a critique of the FBI, exactly, it’s more about the use of fear to generate money both for law enforcement and for the entertainment industry. This is a book with a political bias, in that it blames the Reagan White House and the “New Right” specifically for creating this social environment, but it offers data from primary sources so that you can do your own research if so inclined.I’m into analysis of the social and cultural side effects of the serial murder phenomenon, so I enjoyed this book for the author’s willingness to tackle a complex subject and to support an unpopular position with good data. I recommend it to anyone with a deep interest in law enforcement and media.

We used to have raffles in our Disturbing Books LJ Community; we really ought to start doing that again, as it has led to posts such as this one, about a book called “BETTER TO REIGN IN HELL: SERIAL KILLERS, MEDIA PANICS, AND THE FBI” by Stephen Milligen.

http://disturbingbooks.livejournal.com/28072.html

Here’s what our recommending member had to say about it:

TITLE: Better to Reign in Hell: Serial Killers, Media Panics and the FBI
AUTHOR: Stephen Milligen
AVAILABILITY: Easy to find online

WHAT’S IT ABOUT: This is the book I chose when I won the Disturbing Books raffle because I had just discovered it was still in print. I’ve been interested in the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit for many years, starting with their involvement in the Atlanta Child Murders. I had a complete uncritical respect for everything they did, so I bought all the books, read the articles, and watched the TV specials. What I hasn’t learned was the degree to which a lot of their numbers were inflated to secure more funding, or that the very construction of the archetypical serial killer was just plain wrong in a lot of ways. Critical analysis books are few and far between,

This book isn’t a critique of the FBI, exactly, it’s more about the use of fear to generate money both for law enforcement and for the entertainment industry. This is a book with a political bias, in that it blames the Reagan White House and the “New Right” specifically for creating this social environment, but it offers data from primary sources so that you can do your own research if so inclined.

I’m into analysis of the social and cultural side effects of the serial murder phenomenon, so I enjoyed this book for the author’s willingness to tackle a complex subject and to support an unpopular position with good data. I recommend it to anyone with a deep interest in law enforcement and media.

And now for something completely different: Chuck Palahniuk's video tutorial on HOW TO SHOPLIFT BOOKS and which ones are worth stealing. His list of recommendations is fantastic, so be ready to take notes.

http://disturbingbooks.livejournal.com/26459.html

Posted in 2008:

Given that the movie version of CHOKE opened last night all over the planet, I thought now would be a good moment to share this lovely video with you: Chucky P’s tips on how to steal books prevent thievery in a bookstore, adding a handy list of books worth stealing that might fall prey to theft because they’re so good.

Love it.

And don’t forget: Chuck’s new book "DOOMED" is coming out in October!

"THE WOODS ARE DARK" by Richard Laymon was recommended by one of our co-moderators at Disturbing Books, and boy, did she have a lot to say about it…

From her post, which you can read in full here: http://disturbingbooks.livejournal.com/27470.html

The Woods are Dark by Richard Laymon

There are 2 versions of this novel - it was released in 1981 only after it was heavily butchered by the editors (almost 50 pages were removed). In 2008 the original, unedited version was released and this is the version that I just read, last night in one shot, lol.

I don’t want to give too much away so all I have to say is that the novel is fucked up on page 1 and after that I really don’t think there were any pages that weren’t fucked up, lol.



The Woods Are Dark is a 1981 horror novel by American author Richard Laymon. It was one of his earliest published works, and one he credits with having all but destroyed his publishing career in the United States.

An uncut version of the novel was released by Cemetery Dance Publications in July 2008. It includes fifty pages of material that was cut from the original Warner Books release, and was later found by Kelly Laymon among some of her father’s old papers, along with the full original manuscript (which was extensively edited by Warner for its initial publication). This creative interference, together with the original publication’s disastrous cover artwork, is what Laymon often credited with having ruined his at first promising U.S. publishing career.

The plot concerns two groups of people, a family and a pair of college students, who are kidnapped after stopping in a small California town and taken into the forest to be sacrificed to a group of mysterious creatures, called “Krulls,” who roam the surrounding wilderness. The identity of the Krulls, and their relationship to the town of Barlow, are revealed gradually over the course of the novel.

Publishers Weekly seems to agree that this book is not to everyone’s tastes, so to speak:

Not for the faint of heart or weak of stomach, this reissue of Laymon’s second horror novel (first published in 1981) restores the editorially butchered text to all of its gory glory. In gleefully gruesome fashion, it recounts the ordeal of three different groups of people-hikers Neala and Sherri, vacationing teacher Lander Dills and his family, and local yokel Johnny Robbins-as they attempt to defend themselves against the cannibal Krulls, a forest-dwelling family of inbred savages who for centuries have demanded that the citizens of the nearby burg of Barlow provide them with waylaid travelers for their feeding and breeding. In their desperation to survive at all costs, the seemingly civilized victims find themselves stooping to behavior as beastly as that practiced by their predatory pursuers. This novel is prime Laymon (The Cellar), featuring characters reduced to appetites both carnal and carnivorous and a plot flensed free of all but the bloody bones of storytelling. While not every horror reader’s meat, this savage shockfest is a good example of the pulpy approach that has earned the late author a loyal readership for three decades.

Clearly a wildly polarizing book, the late Michael Crichton’s “STATE OF FEAR” is disturbing to many, but not always for the same reasons…
http://disturbingbooks.livejournal.com/25894.html
The description from Goodreads:

In Tokyo, in Los Angeles, in Antarctica, in the Solomon Islands … an intelligence agent races to put all the pieces together to prevent a global catastrophe.

As you can see from the reviews there, though, people either love it or hate it; there seems to be little middle ground: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15860.State_of_Fear
As written at Amazon:

New York Times bestselling author Michael Crichton delivers another action-packed techno-thriller in State of Fear.When a group of eco-terrorists engage in a global conspiracy to generate weather-related natural disasters, its up to environmental lawyer Peter Evans and his team to uncover the subterfuge. From Tokyo to Los Angeles, from Antarctica to the Solomon Islands, Michael Crichton mixes cutting edge science and action-packed adventure, leading readers on an edge-of-your-seat ride while offering up a thought-provoking commentary on the issue of global warming. A deftly-crafted novel, in true Crichton style, State of Fear is an exciting, stunning tale that not only entertains and educates, but will make you think.

From Publishers Weekly

For his latest foray, Crichton alters his usual formula—three parts thrills and spills to one part hard science—to a less appetizing concoction that is half anti-global warming screed and half adventure yarn. This adds a mission impossible element to Wilson’s narration: how to make pages of research interesting enough to hold the listener’s attention until hero and heroine face their next peril. Unfortunately, Wilson approaches the statistical information like a newscaster communicating via Teleprompter. This earns him an A-plus for elocution and timbre, but a more average grade when it comes to dramatic interpretation. Consequently, the scientific material that Crichton spent three years researching seems even more copious in audio format than in print. And it’s certainly much harder to flip past. Wilson is more successful in handling conversational passages, employing accents and adding subtle touches to various voices—a cynical tone for the hero, who’s a mildly hedonistic corporate lawyer, and an edgier, less patient attitude for the beautiful, ready-for-anything heroine. As they hot-foot it around the globe, assisting an Indiana Jones-like MIT professor in thwarting evils perpetrated by a mass-murdering environmentalist, Wilson stirs up a little suspense by speaking faster and more energetically. But the book’s abundance of statistics would slow any narrator’s momentum, and Wilson is no exception.

Clearly a wildly polarizing book, the late Michael Crichton’s “STATE OF FEAR” is disturbing to many, but not always for the same reasons…

http://disturbingbooks.livejournal.com/25894.html

The description from Goodreads:

In Tokyo, in Los Angeles, in Antarctica, in the Solomon Islands … an intelligence agent races to put all the pieces together to prevent a global catastrophe.

As you can see from the reviews there, though, people either love it or hate it; there seems to be little middle ground: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15860.State_of_Fear

As written at Amazon:

New York Times bestselling author Michael Crichton delivers another action-packed techno-thriller in State of Fear.

When a group of eco-terrorists engage in a global conspiracy to generate weather-related natural disasters, its up to environmental lawyer Peter Evans and his team to uncover the subterfuge.
 
From Tokyo to Los Angeles, from Antarctica to the Solomon Islands, Michael Crichton mixes cutting edge science and action-packed adventure, leading readers on an edge-of-your-seat ride while offering up a thought-provoking commentary on the issue of global warming. A deftly-crafted novel, in true Crichton style, State of Fear is an exciting, stunning tale that not only entertains and educates, but will make you think.

From Publishers Weekly

For his latest foray, Crichton alters his usual formula—three parts thrills and spills to one part hard science—to a less appetizing concoction that is half anti-global warming screed and half adventure yarn. This adds a mission impossible element to Wilson’s narration: how to make pages of research interesting enough to hold the listener’s attention until hero and heroine face their next peril. Unfortunately, Wilson approaches the statistical information like a newscaster communicating via Teleprompter. This earns him an A-plus for elocution and timbre, but a more average grade when it comes to dramatic interpretation. Consequently, the scientific material that Crichton spent three years researching seems even more copious in audio format than in print. And it’s certainly much harder to flip past. Wilson is more successful in handling conversational passages, employing accents and adding subtle touches to various voices—a cynical tone for the hero, who’s a mildly hedonistic corporate lawyer, and an edgier, less patient attitude for the beautiful, ready-for-anything heroine. As they hot-foot it around the globe, assisting an Indiana Jones-like MIT professor in thwarting evils perpetrated by a mass-murdering environmentalist, Wilson stirs up a little suspense by speaking faster and more energetically. But the book’s abundance of statistics would slow any narrator’s momentum, and Wilson is no exception.
This one’s a little…different. Have a look at Lynn Powers’ “KILLER ART: Art That Has Maimed, Killed or Caused General Destruction Through the Centuries.”
http://disturbingbooks.livejournal.com/25186.html


TITLE: Killer Art: Art That Has Maimed, Killed or Caused General Destruction Through the CenturiesAUTHOR: Lynn PowersAVAILABILITY: Easy to find onlineWHAT’S IT ABOUT? Killer Art is a superficial survey of art that has some morbid component to it: drawings by serial killers, an American flag sewn from human skin leather, Damien Hirst’s shark in formalin, art wherein something went wrong and someone died, Judas Priest and the subliminal messages case, and so on. It’s an interesting and pretty book with a fair amount of disturbing material, but it doesn’t really go into depth about any of it. Which is fair, I suppose, in that if you were confronted with one of these pieces, you wouldn’t necessarily get any explanations. There are, however, large and colorful pictures. :-DTable of Contents ForwardDeath MuseumsDecorative ArtsPaintingSculptureMusicMotion PictureTheaterPerformance ArtArt by KillersDeclinesBibliographyMy favorite quote on the back of the book: "Let me be absolutely clear, so there can be no misunderstanding: To include Mr. Richard Serra’s work in a book entitled Killer Art: Art That Has Maimed, Killed or Caused General Destruction Through the Centuries is under any reasonable interpretation defamatory, and we shall consider both you and you publisher full liable.” —Richard Serra’s lawyers

This one’s a little…different. Have a look at Lynn Powers’ “KILLER ART: Art That Has Maimed, Killed or Caused General Destruction Through the Centuries.”

http://disturbingbooks.livejournal.com/25186.html

TITLE: Killer Art: Art That Has Maimed, Killed or Caused General Destruction Through the Centuries
AUTHOR: Lynn Powers
AVAILABILITY: Easy to find online
WHAT’S IT ABOUT? Killer Art is a superficial survey of art that has some morbid component to it: drawings by serial killers, an American flag sewn from human skin leather, Damien Hirst’s shark in formalin, art wherein something went wrong and someone died, Judas Priest and the subliminal messages case, and so on. It’s an interesting and pretty book with a fair amount of disturbing material, but it doesn’t really go into depth about any of it. Which is fair, I suppose, in that if you were confronted with one of these pieces, you wouldn’t necessarily get any explanations. There are, however, large and colorful pictures. :-D

Table of Contents
Forward
Death Museums
Decorative Arts
Painting
Sculpture
Music
Motion Picture
Theater
Performance Art
Art by Killers
Declines
Bibliography

My favorite quote on the back of the book: "Let me be absolutely clear, so there can be no misunderstanding: To include Mr. Richard Serra’s work in a book entitled Killer Art: Art That Has Maimed, Killed or Caused General Destruction Through the Centuries is under any reasonable interpretation defamatory, and we shall consider both you and you publisher full liable.” —Richard Serra’s lawyers

Gilbert Adair’s “THE DREAMERS.”

Once again we run into the book-into-film adaptation. I’ve seen the Bertolucci movie starring Michael Pitt and Eva Green, but have never read the book. This post impressively dissects it all and is at Livejournal here: http://disturbingbooks.livejournal.com/24729.html

TITLE: The Dreamers (link goes to Amazon.com)
AUTHOR: Gilbert Adair
AVAILABILITY: Online, quite easy to find and is inexpensive.


WHAT’S IT ABOUT? In 1968, American student Matthew goes to Paris to study. While attending screenings at the Cinémathèque Française, he meets French twins Théo and Isabelle. They become interested in one another, and Matthew’s invitation to stay the night turns into several weeks. He is drawn into the incestuous relationship between the twins, but are they using him to be closer or to try to break free of their incestuous bond?

This story is likely best known due to the Bernardo Bertolucci film of the same name. It’s been panned and lauded in equal measure for a variety of reasons. Some people are freaked out by the emotional and intellectual incest between the twins, others hate the depiction of late-60’s leftist politics, and some find Bertolucci to just be too indulgent. So anyway, Théo and Isabelle are very close, but they aren’t sexually mature with one another. They sleep together naked, Théo washes up in the tub while Isabelle brushes her teeth, and they are comfortable with one another the way small children are. LJ Head Moderator prettyh mentioned a scene in which Théo masturbates against the photo of Marlene Dietrich, and once he leaves the room, his sister wipes the semen from the photo and then tastes it. This is much less an act of sex and more like the curiosity little kids have with bodily fluids, before someone teaches them that such things are icky. When they seek out Matthew, it seems at first as if they are just seeking another playmate, but it soon becomes apparent that there is more going on. Is Matthew a proxy for Théo to sexualize the relationship with his sister? Does Isabelle want to break away from Théo by using Matthew? And poor Matthew has fallen equally in love with both of them — or the one person of which he sees them the two halves — and he doesn’t have any clue as to the dangerous undertow of their collective relationship.

The books and movie resemble each other closely, like the twins, but the book is not the usual novelization. Originally it was the first novel of British author Gilbert Adair, given the title Holy Innocents to call attention to its relationship to the Jean Cocteau novel Les Enfants Terribles (in English, Holy Terrors). Adair was a Cocteau scholar, and he saw Cocteau’s story of a pair of twins (male and female) struggling to escape their mutual orbit as something to explore anew. (The Cocteau novel was filmed as Les Enfants Terribles in 1950.) Adair didn’t like his novel much, but it caught Bertolucci’s eye in 2001 and he sought the film rights. He then asked Adair to work with him to develop a screenplay, and in the course of doing so, Adair rewrote his novel and released it as The Dreamers. The differences were enhanced by changes the actors wanted. For instance, in the novels, Théo and Isabelle were fully lovers. In the film, this was no longer the case because lead actress Eva Green insisted that Isabelle was a virgin. According to Adair, “… we thought, well, maybe she knows the character better than we do.” In the books, the twins are far more playfully abusive towards Matthew, and he sees the increasing degradation as proof of affection. There’s also more sexual activity between Théo and Matthew in the books, which is both good and bad, seeing as Théo’s behavior changes for the worse the more jealous he gets.

If you see the movie or not, this is still a good book. Do not, however, bother to seek out Holy Innocents. It isn’t as well-written, it’s an insanely expensive collectors item now, and all the good parts ended up in The Dreamers. As a depiction of sibling incest, it portrays a reasonably egalitarian although intensely and unhealthily close relationship. The twins are good at attacking one another’s weaknesses after a lifetime of learning them, but neither dominates the other. Some scenes are more disturbing than others, but the overall atmosphere of the book is steamy greenhouse rather than dusty attic. :-)
 

One of our co-mods at our Disturbing Books LJ community posted about this ages ago, and since zombies are all the rage these days, it seems fitting to add it here…

http://disturbingbooks.livejournal.com/23924.html

TITLE: Zombie CSU: The Forensics of the Living Dead (link goes to official website for the book)
AUTHOR: Jonathan Maberry
AVAILABILITY? 2008 release date, so it should be widely available in stores.

WHAT’S IT ABOUT? I debated with myself whether this really counted as a disturbing book. Is the book truly traumatizing? No, not really. However, learning that it is medically possible to have some form of real-life zombie plague bothered me rather a lot, because pandemics already freak me out without adding that extra element.

It features interviews with people in a variety of relevant science, law enforcement, and military occupations on the viability of a zombie outbreak and how it would actually be handled. In order to take you through this in some semblance of order, it starts with the initial call to the police that a woman witnessed a strange attack on a security guard at a nearby research facility. What do the first responders on the scene do? How to they try to contain the situation? What can the forensic sciences tell us about what we are dealing with? What are the real-life methods through which a zombie plague would spread? What happens in the local emergency rooms? How would the military really handle an outbreak, as opposed to what they do in movies?

To get the answers, the author spoke with doctors, scientists, law enforcement and military personnel around the US. All of them were sufficiently aware of what zombies are and many of them were quite happy to discuss what they knew in that context. The cops and soldiers were the most eager, I think, because they come off so badly in the movies. The book has a similar vibe to the Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks, only with More Science!

The original post for this book - Ian Brady’s “The Gates of Janus” - is open to read at our Disturbing Books LJ community, so come browse…

http://disturbingbooks.livejournal.com/22482.html

A book about serial killers. By…a serial killer. Ian Brady’s “Gates Of Janus.”

TITLE:THE GATES OF JANUS: Serial Killing And Its Analysis (also titled “The Gates Of Janus: An Analysis of Serial Murder by England’s Most Hated Criminal”)
AUTHOR: Ian Brady
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?: Having not read it to its completion yet, I defer to the wise words of Amazon and such to explain why this book might be of interest to you…although I think a book about serial murder BY a serial killer automatically scores some points on the “WTF” scale.

From Publisher’s Weekly:
The infamous “Moors Murderer,” writing from his U.K. jail cell, Brady provides a rambling account of the socio-philosophical and psychological genesis of the modern day serial killer, but it’s emphatically “not an apologia.” The child pornographer and convicted killer (of 10-year-old Lesley Ann Downey, 12-year-old John Kilbride and others) spends the first half of the book contending that killers such as himself, who are free from societal, religious and moral chains, are able to provide greater insight into the criminal mind than psychiatrists, crime reporters or police. But this argument, in and of itself, is unsurprising, and any logical authority Brady might have been able to build up is undermined by page after page of his nihilistic ranting. Pointing to myriad problems present in overpopulated, self-satisfied, privileged societies, Brady imagines contemporary culture as a breeding ground for serial killers. To prove his point, he attempts psychological profiles of Henry Lee Lucas, John Wayne Gacy, Ted Bundy and other notorious killers. But these chapters are not profiles so much as they are detailed accounts of the gruesome crimes committed. While revisiting such felonies might be enjoyable for the hardcore true crime fan, for most readers the depictions will feel as gratuitous as the heinous crimes they describe. The relentlessly abrasive and controversial social critic [Peter] Sotos (Pure), an aficionado of murders recorded on audio tape, adds a provocative afterword.

Read more here: http://disturbingbooks.livejournal.com/22482.html

Heather Lewis’s "NOTICE" will turn your stomach and then break your heart. As our recommending member stated:

Nina,a prostitute who uses sex as a coping mechanism for her emotional suffering. Twisted into a web involving a sadistic couple, and eventually committed to a psych ward, it seems everything that should be helping her serves only to drive her deeper into self destruction. Terribly painful, nearly unbearable to read due to Nina’s rapid decline.

Lewis committed suicide in 2002, before this book could be published.

Amazon description:



As a young adult, she started to turn tricks in the parking lot of the local bar. Not because she needed the money, but because the money made explicit what sex had always been for her, a loveless transaction.
A sadist takes her home to replay family dramas with his beautiful wife, and she becomes hopelessly drawn into their dangerous web, and eventually, ends up in more trouble than she ever bargained for. Arrested and confined to a psych ward, a therapist is assigned to help her. But instead of treatment, they develop a sexual relationship, bringing her both confusion and revelation.
Heather Lewis was the author of two other novels, House Rules and Second Suspect. In 2002, she took her own life at the age of 40.

Heather Lewis’s "NOTICE" will turn your stomach and then break your heart. As our recommending member stated:

Nina,a prostitute who uses sex as a coping mechanism for her emotional suffering. Twisted into a web involving a sadistic couple, and eventually committed to a psych ward, it seems everything that should be helping her serves only to drive her deeper into self destruction.

Terribly painful, nearly unbearable to read due to Nina’s rapid decline.

Lewis committed suicide in 2002, before this book could be published.

Amazon description:

As a young adult, she started to turn tricks in the parking lot of the local bar. Not because she needed the money, but because the money made explicit what sex had always been for her, a loveless transaction.

A sadist takes her home to replay family dramas with his beautiful wife, and she becomes hopelessly drawn into their dangerous web, and eventually, ends up in more trouble than she ever bargained for. Arrested and confined to a psych ward, a therapist is assigned to help her. But instead of treatment, they develop a sexual relationship, bringing her both confusion and revelation.

Heather Lewis was the author of two other novels, House Rules and Second Suspect. In 2002, she took her own life at the age of 40.

Chad Kultgen’s book “THE AVERAGE AMERICAN MALE” is one of my most-hated books of all time. Clearly, I’m in the minority, especially among my fellow Disturbing Books folk:

Self-hating and sex obsessed misogynistic narrator takes us for a stroll through his world in the most vulgar and explicit way possible.

My favorite book of 2008. Rocked my f***ing socks off.

http://disturbingbooks.livejournal.com/20116.html

A quotation that comes only slightly closer to my take on it:

An offensive, in-your-face, brutally honest and completely hilarious look at male inner life and sexual fantasy—sure to be one of the most controversial books of the year.

Have a look and decide for yourself:

From Publishers Weekly

The nameless narrator of this dismal debut is a cynical 20-something living an empty, oversexed existence in L.A. He gets laid more often than he masturbates, plays video games, goes to the gym, sizes up every bitch in sight and, understandably, hates Casey, his vapid wannabe-actress girlfriend who tricks him into agreeing to marry her. He is not happy about this. Adding to his reluctance is his burgeoning “relationship” with hottie Alyna, a UCLA student who-just as Casey is an exaggerated caricature of What Men Don’t Want-is the Dream Girl who likes video games and porn-style sex. (Also, Casey has a “fat ass” whereas Alyna has a “perfect ass.”) […] Despite the book’s purported “brutal honesty,” the premise is essentially: guys like sex and dislike cuddling.
——

“It’s so primal, so dangerous, it might be the most ingenious book I’ve ever read.” (Josh Kilmer-Purcell, New York Times bestselling author of I AM NOT MYSELF THESE DAYS)

“[B]uy Chad’s book. It’s a blueprint of how the mind—and penis—of a typical American male works.” (Maddox, New York Times bestselling author of THE ALPHABET OF MANLINESS)

“[A] brilliant send-up of the way …the male point of view has been misrepresented by militant feminists.” (Toby Young, New York Times bestselling author of HOW TO LOSE FRIENDS AND ALIENATE PEOPLE)

Detestable or defensible?