Killer reads (if you can handle them)

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The Troop by Nick Cutter

His subpar pseudonym aside, Nick Cutter delivers in this sickening, parasitic horror novel. A troop of five boys go journey into the woods with their Scoutmaster Tim.

When an emaciated, pale man stumbles into their campground, Tim (in a fit of outstandingly poor judgement) decides to care for the disgusting man, and ends up getting infected with the man’s bioengineered parasite.

Seriously, Tim? What did you expect?

This is one of the best lessons in the book: never help anyone, ever.

The plot is punctuated with clippings, advertisements and interviews that echo the outside world as the boys struggle to survive on the island without getting infected.

Probably most stomach-turning details come from the ravenous hunger streaks that accompany the parasitic infection. When I say they’ll eat anything, I mean they’ll eat anything: such favorites include bugs, a massive, dead parasite and dirt.

In his review, Stephen King describes “The Troop” as “not for the faint-hearted” and “old-school horror at its best.” On the whole, “The Troop” is the perfect balance of horror: so sickening that you want to stop reading, so well-written that you can’t.

 

American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis

“This is an important book,” said Norman Mailer.He was talking, of course, about Bret Easton Ellis’ American Psycho. Of course. Why wouldn’t you know that?

It’s the portrait of a Wall Street yuppie-slash-serial killer, set in the late 80s, a time period of materialism and cocaine. Patrick Bateman, the killer, is fed up with it all.

You think this is one slick dude until you realize he’s, like, the total nerd of their little rich kid clique. He just doesn’t fit in at their young Republican parties, always talking about Ted Bundy and stuff, and his homicidal urges are sending him into a downward spiral of madness, hallucinations, and blood.

“American Psycho” is a parallel for a materialistic civilization full of people turning a blind eye to the world’s problems. They either don’t realize or pretend nothing’s happening, just like Bateman’s friends, coworkers and fiancee. But the sickening, murderistic fantasies played out in Bateman’s reality are teeth-clenchingly graphic.

 

Exile by Kevin Emerson

Who doesn’t love reading about a self-pitying high school girl with a one-dimensional personality complaining about what a great band manager she is? Toss in a brooding bad boy lead singer with a shocking secret, a back to school party called “Trial by Fire,” and band names like We Still Play With Our Toy Ticks, and you’ve got a young adult novel about as appetizing as the dead bodies in “The Troop.”

Spoiler alert: this is a killer read because it will actually kill you. Abandon hope.