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Jim Thompson
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The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks A modern gothic classic, Gothic in the sense of murders, madness, depravity and hideous family secrets. This novel is a bit slow (and quite grotesque) for a good portion. It is a trip inside the head of a very disturbed young man, and as such is quite well done. I have seen some reviews which excoriate this book for its portrayal of violence against animals and which claim that in order to enjoy this novel you must be some kind of animal hating creep. This is worse than just stupid, it is disingenuous. The protagonist of this novel is a serial killer. A young serial killer at that. It is fairly well known that serial killers in their youth especially, regularly torture and kill animals. Is it any great leap to think that perhaps the story of a young budding serial killer would include violence against animals?

This is a very, very well written book about some grim subject matter. If you can stomach the subject matter, you will be rewarded. If you cannot, don't bother.