Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Literature Review #12: Bloody Legends

As the summer is now in full force, today's literature review pays homage to those scary....but plausible stories that horrify many a child around the campfire at overnight camps.  You remember those stories..the ones where young men and women meet their doom, often times on lovers' lane, and all the time in gory fashion. Forget about the kids, as Andrea Merchak (from Brasil) gives us one of those stories.  "Bloody Legends" is kind of like a campfire story on steroids.  However bloody and disconcerting our favorite urban legends are...."Bloody Legends" is a vicious tale which will affect you after the lights are turned off.
On a Delta flight from Richmond to Atlanta, I beckon the stewardess for a Coke.  Not that I'm thirsty...but my stomach just got a bit queasy.  Not air sickness....but the first killings in "Bloody Legends."  As our novel begins, a brutal serial killer (...this term is such an understatement) sets off on what will end up being a most gory voyage.  After a few sips, I realized that I was hooked (excuse the pun).  What follows is a horrific tale in which we follow the thoughts and deeds of a monster...and also the over matched detectives who try to end the carnage.  A brief plot description, avoiding spoilers, has a brilliant (...but evil) young man bent on recreating those campfire legends in a suburban community.  Like many serial killers, he looks for opportunity, does a ton of preparation, kills, and finally basks in the aftermath. The joy and euphoria of each killing works as a narcotic on our fiend, and each subsequent killing must be more ominous.
 Becoming addicted to fame and attention, the killer makes sure all of his crime scenes are also messages.  Important to his ego is receiving the credit due for his masterpieces.  Ms. Merchak will introduce us to a bloody altar in his basement, which indicates a religious (not a religion we know) zeal guiding his trek.  Baffling police is that none of the victims have any similarities.  Some of the unfortunates have in some sense earned their fate, while others are the epitome of innocence.  The author denies us the comfort of enjoying a mere slasher story, and pulls us in to the horror.  In some cases, when the next victim is hears themselves mutter "...No! Not her (...or him)!" But yes...taboos are crossed, and this horror story is vaulted to a higher level of terror which most authors dare not tread.  In one shocking scene, an orgy of carnage will befell a suburban community in which the victims will'll see.
After spending 25 years as an FBI agent, and viewing the collections, diaries, and artwork of some of the most heinous serial killers in history, I can safely say that Ms. Merchak indeed presents us a realistic glimpse into the mind of a monster.  This story will jolt you, and scare you beyond the inevitable nightmares.  Like many a serial killer, Ms. Merchak's creation is someone who could very easily be our neighbor or colleague.  Available on "Bloody Legends" is required reading for horror aficionados who desire to go to the next level of terror.   

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