Tuesday, May 5, 2020

The Bookwyrm's Review of Psycho Killers In Love by C.T. Phipps




Author: C. T. Phipps

Publisher: Macabre Ink

Release Date:  TBA

Genre: Urban Fantasy/Horror

Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

I make no secret of the fact C.T. Phipps is probably my favorite author writing today, indie or traditionally published. I was given a chance to review an early copy of his latest book, so of course I jumped at the opportunity. I'm definitely glad I did, this being a stand alone that still ties into his United States of Monsters, and adds to the rich tapestry of that collection of series.

PLOT SUMMARY  

In a world where slasher movies are based on real slashers, such as Fred, Mike, the Camp Killer and The Camp Killer's Mother, William and Carrie England know all about it. Their father, Billy Jones Patrick, was one of the original slashers, one who specialized and slumber parties, sororities and even Christmas. Needless to say, they had some lousy Christmases over the years. When their father was finally killed, they were both grabbed by the authorities and put in an insane asylum, since they were thought to have the slasher gene. Turns out they did, although the state didn't really know that. Now in their 20's, William and Carrie have escaped from their years of shock treatments, drug therapy and other warped government experimentation, and are on the run from the law.

Unfortunately, they can't escape their father, who, although he's dead, still keeps hanging around as a ghost. Stopped off in a small Kansas town, which it turns out is a nexus for slashers, William, who has never actually killed someone, has a weird feeling when a customer enters the diner they're in, as he can see the evil and murders the man has committed. Feeling an overwhelming need to murder the man, and with a voice in his head, the Spirit of the Hunt, egging him on, William follows him out of the diner to the back parking lot. 

As he is about to murder the man, the tables are turned on him and William is murdered by the man instead. Just before he dies, though, he sees the man get killed by a woman with a golf club who was locked in the man's trunk. When he regenerates back to life, Carrie comes out and they meet the girl, Nancy. It turns out she is whats known as an Artemis, those rare girls at the end of horror movies that end up killing the slasher. It turns out that like William and Carrie, she has supernatural abilities, such as strength, speed and regeneration. 

She explains she was at a bachlorette party that was captured by a group of rich people to hunt for sport. Deciding they needed to help her, they retreated to their house, an abandoned drug house, where they make a discovery: there is a staked vampire in the basement that has been drained of blood. This discovery leads to a wild series of events, as the drug makers return, and William and crew end their threat, awakening the vampire at the same time, who agrees to help them take the people hunters down and rescue Nancy's friends. 

This leads to revelations about the group that has surprise origins with Billy and his contemporaries, and also the mysterious force behind the hunter's group. A force that has a completely unexpected link to William and Carrie's past, that might have world altering consequences if not stopped. Can a couple slashers, a slasher killer and a vampire possibly stop the threat, and do they really want to?

CHARACTERS AND WORLD BUILDING

As with any book by C. T. Phipps, the characters are what drives the story. William, Carrie and Nancy are just such interesting characters, fighting (or not) against their very genes and forces outside their control trying to mold them into the very stereotypes they were meant to be. William and Carrie were basically trained to be killers, and while Carrie embraces it, William has fought it, even going so far as to get his CPA, as far from being a slasher as you can get. Nancy is in a similar state, as her mother and grandmother were both involved as victims of slashers, and are the source of her Artemis genes. They aren't perfect, and defy their stereotypes, as William and Nancy should be deadly enemies, yet find themselves drawn to each other. There are a lot of fun dynamics within the group. None of them feel like cardboard cutouts, but just people dealing with unusual issues. The villains are an interesting bunch, tying into various other parts of the various US of Monsters books, adding backstory to those as well. We get an idea of their thought processes, and their actions are consistent within their character arcs. All told, an excellent group of characters.

The world building for this book is a strength as well. Its a world with a layer of the supernatural just out of sight, where supernatural slashers, vampires, demons, zombies and other assorted supernaturals exist. Tying into the other books, anyone who's read any of those knows just how much more supernatural world there is. This one delves into a more horror oriented corner of that universe, where the things that go bump in the night really are trying to kill you. You can tell the writer has a wealth of knowledge of the slasher genre,  and puts it to good use building this corner of his shared universe.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Shared universes tend to be hit or miss in my opinion, but C. T. Phipps just keeps adding new corners to his universe, adding new layers of goodness. They all interconnect in various ways, but each maintain their own distinctiveness. I consider this to be a worthy addition to his universe, while still being able to stand on its own. I definitely recommend this one as a must read.





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