Last Days by Brian Evenson tells the story of Kline, a detective of some sort. From the beginning, we never really know much about Kline. He’s a detective, on his last assignment he infiltrated some kind of cult and in the process, voluntarily had his right hand hacked off. He then cauterized the wound on a nearby hot-plate, drew his gun and shot his wannabe-surgeon through the eye. An eye for a hand. Aside from saving his life, the act of self-cauterization drew the attention of a rather odd group of people.
After reading his story in the paper, Kline is heavily researched and then contacted by the Brotherhood of Mutilation, a bizarre religious cult who believes in salvation through amputation. The bible says, “And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast if from thee. And if thy right hand offend thee, cut if off, and cast it from thee,” an idea that the Brotherhood takes quite literally. A crime has taken place on their compound, and they insist that Kline, an amputee and self-cauterizer, be the one to investigate. Kline agrees to visit the compound with the understanding that the cult’s leader will explain the case. Kline, however, isn’t made aware that he won’t be allowed to leave the compound alive unless he solves the case, a case of murder. The situation is more complex than Kline could possibly imagine, he might lose more than his hand.
Last Days, to me, is a very well-written satirical horror novel. It’s action, suspense, chilling atmosphere and violence. I read it in one day, simply because I couldn’t put it down. It’s not a book to be read for rich character development, Last Days is really a fast-paced and unflinching waking nightmare. It appeals on a visceral level. Its intellectual appeal is in its dark satire of blind faith and the dangers of obsession. Last Days is a solid and disturbing read.3 comments
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