Serial Uncut Paperback – Jan 1 2011
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Serial: Uncut is an Omnibus edition of sorts which has updated and extended scenes from Serial, Truck Stop and Bad Girl, so just buy this one, and you have them all!
I liked the addition of Lucy and Donaldson's backstory, though when I found got to the present in the "Serial" portion of the story I felt a bit cheated on Lucy's part. There was a whole scene in which Donaldson described how he got rid of his victims, but Lucy just "dumped the bodies" or something to that effect.
After reading it again, I felt that Donaldson and Lucy's battle could have gone on a bit longer before ending in that epic mistake, but I'd settle for another work in which the two of them, especially Lucy, feature. Battling each other, again? Whatever you like, just please make it happen somehow, please?
Buy this, you won't regret it.... unless you're one of the 1-star reviewers from Serial who thought a book about serial killers shouldn't be ABOUT serial killers....
I was a big fan of Blake Crouch's first novel, but then I stopped reading him for some reason I don't quite recall. I've never experienced Kilborn/Konrath (everyone knows they're the same person, yes?), so I figured I'd bone up on what Blake's been up to and get a taste of another mystery writer at the same time with this inexpensive little ebook that's had a few of my friends raving for months now. Not in the same way the publishers did (one doesn't talk about something being the most gruesome thing ever when one is a connoisseur of extreme horror, because there's always a more gruesome thing just around the corner). It turned out to be shallow, but kinda fun: the guys take various serial killers (and Jack Daniels, Kilborn's PI heroine) from their more established novels and stick them all in the same scenario with some innocent bystanders and see how things play out.
Given a bit more work, this could have been a really absorbing study of the mentality. They have the framework for such a book in place, with tentative untrusting friendships, mentorships, and the like blossoming between the various serial killers, but every time we might find ourselves in a serious psychological treatment, the authors pull back and remember that they're writing a straight genre thriller. Which means fast-paced, easy to read, and with all the depth of the average Pennsylvania pothole. But it's fun, it's pretty solid, and you can blow through it in a couple of hours. Empty calories, but like a lot of empty calories, they taste pretty darn good. ***
The book has four parts and each of them focus on certain psychopaths. The first part is the introduction of Gregory Donaldson and is set in Tampa 1978, as a younger Donaldson is faced with a car breakdown and gets a lift from a rather special person who identifies himself as Mr. K [a character from the Jack Daniel books]. Thus begins his introduction to the world wherein he realizes that there are more people out there who are akin to him and the person he faces might be someone deadlier than him. This story was a short piece and ends on a real creepy note to set the tone for the remaining parts.
The second part is set in Indianapolis, 1995 and is actually the prequel novella "Bad Girl" it introduces a fifteen year old Lucy who is on her way to meet her favorite author Andrew Z. Thomas. She has problems in getting a room and therefore decides to take things in her own hands. She also finds that awaiting her favorite novelist are two other folk [Orson and Luther from the Luther Kite trilogy by Blake Crouch] who share a burning desire to meet him as well and this turns out to be a great learning experience for Lucy. This was the best story in the entire collection for me.
The third part opens in 2007 in Wisconsin and is the short story "Truck Stop" which has characters from the J.A. Konrath & Jack Kilborn books. In this story we find Jack Daniels rushing to meet her boyfriend but she goes off her driving map and is forced to take a pit stop at trucker's place. Sadly Taylor, the podiatric psychopath also decides to pick up his next victim over there and lastly hanging out at the same place is Donaldson, the creepy killer we met in the first part who picks up on Taylor's motives and decides to befriend him to compare kills and techniques. This was the longest piece and possibly the strongest one in terms of action and pace. It also serves as a prequel for Afraid by Jack Kilborn.
The last part is the short story "Serial" wherein Lucy meets Donaldson, a week later after the events of "Truck Stop". This is the fun part as Serial Killer #1 picks up serial killer #2 as each one tries to kill the other using their refined techniques. This part was the one on which the entire novella hinges upon as we see the killers try their best to up each other and at the same time savor their kill.
I was a bit late in picking up this novella, I had heard of Serial when it was first released but somehow never got around to reading it. When I chanced upon Serial Uncut and saw that it was a novella featuring three short stories with extended scenes, I quickly picked it up on kindle as I had read Afraid by J. Kilborn and couple of the earlier Konrath books as well. I read this book and was completely thrilled by it. Firstly both Blake and Joe have to be complimented for their mixing of the horror and thriller genre, secondly the pace of this book never lets up each section opens up a new facet of the killers and we are also introduced to various other characters from the author's previous books. My favourite amongst all of these sections was part two or Bad girl by Blake Crouch as it effortlessly showcases Lucy and how her mind works.
The writing is pretty good as readers are exposed to the depraved minds and what is especially exciting to read is that unlike the Jeff Lindsey's DEXTER novels the protagonists have no redeeming qualities. As a fair warning to readers, I would like to point out that this tale does have its serious moments when it comes to gore and action. Readers who are squeamish should heartily avoid this book. If you are yet undecided read the excerpts [available online] to decide where you stand. But for readers who love horror especially psychological stuff, can veritably jump in. This novella is the beginning of a wonderful collaboration between two talented writers and from what has been promised is the first step in the unification of their individual writing universes.
CONCLUSION: A novella of about 36,000 words, however Serial Uncut promises a lot in its blurb and delivers exceptionally well on the count of action, psychological horror and page turning quality. I'm looking forward to the sequel Killers Uncut in which we get to meet Donaldson & Lucy again and get ready for their duel part deux!
The introduction of Taylor was pretty cool, especially paired with brief histories of Lucy and Donaldson. You will not be disappointed with this book. That being said, don't read it if you're squeemish or in a dark room by yourself.
I am definitely reading more from these authors. I want to read more about Luther and Orson. And please, PLEASE write another story about Donaldson. I would love to read even more about his life before (and maybe even during) Serial Uncut.