Poppy Z. Brite
Drawing Blood (1993)
Author: Poppy Z. Brite
Genre (and subgenre): Horror (Visceral/Splatterpunk)
When he was five years old, Trevor’s father laced his evening juice with sedatives and murdered Trevor’s mother and brother before hanging himself in the shower. Why Trevor was left surviving plagues him still. Zach is an expert hacker who finds himself on the run from the FBI. He lands in Missing Mile, North Carolina and meets Trevor who has returned to the scene of the crime after years away. The two develop an intimate relationship that provides solace to both, and they each begin the search for deeper meaning in their lives. Needing to surround himself with the spirits of his family, both Trevor and Zach sleep in the abandoned house, scene of the horrible crime, and are haunted by ghosts who, like Trevor, have yet to find peace.
Geographical Setting: Missing Mile, North Carolina
Time Period: 1992
Primary action pivotal to the plot of the story is revealed in the prologue, and is then explained slowly throughout the book. There is more description than dialog, but the dialog is potent, revealing deeper elements to characters. True to the punk culture of this subgenre, details on cyberspace and computer hacking add dimension to the novel without being overbearing. The prose moves quickly, but character development is slow. The book has elements of a thriller as main characters are on the run, but the overall pace of the book is very slow, which may be a deterrent for those looking for fast, hard-core, splatterpunk action. Homosexual romance adds depth to what could have been clichéd characters. Both characters and plot are essential to story. Setting is a small town in North Carolina; minor characters add excellent flavor to the setting.
Similar Authors: Christa Faust, Michael Slade, Clive Barker, John Shirley, Bret Easton Ellis’s American Psycho
Red Flags: Yes to all. Excessively violent, abundant profanity, sexual subject matter, excessive drug reference. Illegal activities of various levels including: petty theft, cybertheft, murder, assault and battery, mild and illicit drug use. Paranormal activity. Graphic homosexual encounters.