The ultimate dismemberment-mutilation book. It’s an acquired taste mebbe. Bloody noir. Evenson gives us a bizarre milieu, yet it’s couched in such fine hard-boiled matter of fact language, that it’s a page turner. And some of the dialogue is a real hoot. It’s fair to say that the full macabre nature of the events described in this book, are not readily apparent, buried as they are in the language. It sneaks up on you is what I’m saying. The delayed reaction is also helped by the fact that the book moves along at such a rapid pace that you’re finished before you know it. It’s a slim 200-pages after all.
Hard to overlook the fact that Evenson is a lapsed Mormon – so this can easily be read as a jagged gouge at religions of the cult variety.
A word should be said about the strange, yet somehow lovable buddies, Ramse and Gous. Ramse and Gous are sent to kidnap Kline, a detective who has recently lost a hand in an assault (cleavered off). The two of them are Kline’s first exposure to the Brotherhood of Mutilation. A cult in which status is bestowed by how many limbs, appendages, or digits one has had severed off. Some of the discussions on status (how does a hand stack up to three fingers, for instance) are grimly humorous.
The martial arts like conclusion only adds to the genre soup that Evenson cooks up for the reader. You may need a strong stomach to get through this, but the real-kick only comes the morning after anyway. So suck it up and read it!