Am I the only Wrath James White reader that ever wondered how Joseph got to be so goddamned fit and fearsome in Succulent Prey? Cause seriously… the way White describes this man’s physique is nothing short of a perfectly sculpted human flesh wall.
Well, this book not only proves to be an incredible return to the story and character that gave a ton of men shame-boners, and made more than a few women uncomfortably wet, but it also serves as somewhat of a rudimentary blueprint for how to become as fit as a ferocious murderer using Plyometrics and Body weight Training!
Oh, and how to eat people. Because that’s what y’do, right? Eating the people? Yes. Nom nom nom.
In 2005, twenty year-old Joseph Miles went in search of a cure for a disease he was convinced was turning him into a monster. The result was a killing spree that left a string of dismembered and cannibalized bodies from San Francisco to Seattle.
Eight years later, after being tried and sentenced to life in prison, Joseph is still searching for a cure. To do so, he must first escape from super maximum security prison where he has been involved in underground death matches sponsored by the prison guards and has been targeted by two of the prison’s most dangerous inmates.
Joseph enlists the aid of a lonely female guard with a history of inappropriate behavior with inmates, and a young model named Selene whom Joseph met in art class when he was still a psychology student. She has followed him obsessively over the years and will do anything to help Joseph escape. But could Selene be even more dangerous and twisted than Joseph Miles? Is she really trying to help him find a cure or does she have darker motivations?
– from Amazon.com
After reading this author’s previous work, I’m quite familiar with his thirst for blood and violence. In fact, I’ve come to a place in my life where, not only to I look forward to reading his insanely realistic scenes of bodily mutilation and torture, but I also kinda feel all warm and gooey inside when I’m in the middle of one. Which makes me sound like I should be filling out a self-admittance form for a mental health clinic, but I digress…
White has a way of crafting an engaging story filled with energy and action, but also letting the reader in on the subtle nuances of the characters and creatures he’s created – what makes them tick, really. Both Succulent Prey and Prey Drive have a massive thread within them concerning the main character’s need to love and be loved, and the supporting character’s need to love the monster they are actually more obsessed with than anything. Joseph’s desire to eat someone, to me, isn’t homicidal in nature, but is more-so presented as an urge or a drive that he cannot simply “control”, in the conventional sense of the word. It’s both the way he defends himself, and the way he shows his love, both physically and emotionally.
Think about it for a second:
Scenario One: You’re bleeding the lizard at a urinal in the washroom of a subway late at night. Do do do do dooooo aaahhhhhhh… BAM! someone grabs you from behind in a choke hold, but a portion of his forearm is close to your teeth. You’re like Joseph Miles and you’ve filed your teeth into sharp points (because yes) aaannnnnnd CHOMP! There goes the bastard’s Brachioradialis.
Scenario Two: You’re rolling around on your rotating, water bed – your sexy Muppet bed sheets washed and cleaned for the loving occasion – just as the lady of the night, or Candy, as she calls herself, finishes doing a line in the bathroom and
stumbles saunters into the room. You pick her up off the ground sweep her off her feet and nibble the side of her neck… buuuut those teeth are a little sharper than you thought and now you’re covered in sticky hooker blood. (A sentence I never thought I’d ever type.)
See? Two scenarios – two different, and useful, instances where one would use their filed and sharpened teeth. Only… in a Wrath James White novel, someone’s going to lose more than a small piece of themselves.
Where the hell was I going with this? Teeth! Teeth and biting and…
Ugh, I don’t remember. Whatever.
The point is, this novel doesn’t at all fall into the George Lucas “I’m going to create a sequel and make it suck” area of the writing spectrum. No! In fact, it’s quite the contrary. This novel is almost better than the first, if only because it feels more mature and honed than Succulent Prey did, and focuses on a very limited geographic area, thus allowing more of a story to develop without having the reader have to imagine a bazillion little places along the way.
Joseph, as a character, is more refined and controlled from the writer’s perspective, and the surrounding cast is used to the best of their ability, as opposed to being thrown into the cage with a starving lion.
White obviously listened to his inner fan with this one, fashioning more theories as to what drive this particular killer, whether or not it is something that can be created, and what lies ahead of someone driven by such an incredibly powerful urge to kill.
I wouldn’t be surprised if this lands on my TBR pile at least once a year. It’s addictive, and an incredibly successful addition to what I only hope becomes “The Prey Series”.
I, for one, sincerely wish Wrath James White would create a workout routine and diet plan based on Joseph Miles’ prison house run. I would take the challenge in a heartbeat if I knew I could get this doughy center off my body and look like this menacing brute.
Well… you know… without the people eating part. Cause that’s not likely going to be very legal…