Tuesday, August 16, 2011
by Jack Kilborn (aka J.A. Konrath) and Blake Crouch (aka Blake Crouch)
Norwood Press signed limited edition (2009)
I had a free PDF copy of this novella from J.A. Konrath's website, but I never got around to reading it until I won a physical copy from The Man Eating Bookworm. As it stands, I really should have read it as soon as I had that PDF--but I hate reading books in that format.
The story is dead simple: what if two incredibly efficient, undeniably psychopathic serial killers crossed paths, and targeted each other without realizing they were cut from the same cloth?
The answer: mayhem.
Donaldson is a killer whose preferred prey is any hitchhiker on a lonely stretch of highway that catches his eye. He doesn't fuss with knives or guns, though. Nope, he's got a customized kill wagon with reinforced steel behind the plush dashboard that a lot of damage. If you've ever seen Deathproof, and the car Kurt Russell drives, just imagine a family friendly version of that. Then, there's Lucy, who is just the sweetest little thing you ever did see--and she knows it. She winds up being Donaldson next hitchhiker, since she's the kind of killer who gets off on luring men to pick her up from the side of the road, so she can take them somewhere secluded and torture the holy hell out of them.
Donaldson and Lucy were born to meet.
The collaboration worked really well between Konrath and Crouch, with Joe creating Donaldson and Blake creating Lucy, then pitting the two characters against each other. Kind of like a demented literary form of playing Mortal Kombat. It's a tautly woven novella with nothing extra to clutter up the carnage. Definitely a fun, fast read for horror and thriller fans alike.
Since it was originally published, there's been a sequel put out, as well as an "uncut" version of each, even put together in an omnibus e-book on the Kindle Store and other places. If the extended version is as good as this, I'll definitely have to look out for it.