Review Index

EDWARD LEE & WRATH JAMES WHITE (Medium Rare Books; 2003) 

Here’s a true match made in Hell: Edward Lee and Wrath James White, the current sultans of literary mayhem.  Lee’s output includes over-the-toppers like THE BIGHEAD, GOON and CITY INFERNAL, while White is responsible for the fictional atrocities POISONING EROS and SUCCULENT PREY.  Put these two sick fucks together and the results are bound to be twisted, to say the least.  Twisted this book is, and also vile, perverse and thoroughly repellant.  I’d expect nothing less.

     What I was expecting more of is sheer wordage.  The page count is a paltry 112, when I’d think these writers capable of at least another two hundred pages.  But what’s here is enough to satisfy any reader with a taste for the extreme.

     As to which author contributed more, I’d venture to say Wrath James White, as the story is very much in keeping with the inverted spirituality of so many of his tales (it was practically the basis of his collection BOOK OF A THOUSAND SINS.  It’s about John Farrington, a young multi-millionaire and all-around lunatic looking to lure God onto our plane and capture him.  To this end Farrington packs a secluded mansion with an assortment of human oddities and influential leaders, and injects them all with an illegal drug that jacks up peoples’ sex drives. 

    Farrington’s charges spend their days performing every conceivable sex act in every imaginable permutation, with Farrington himself often joining in the fun.  In this way he hopes to get God so enraged He’ll have to show up on Earth and personally put a stop to it all.

     A challenge to Farrington’s reign comes in the form of a femme reporter and tough-guy photographer looking to do a story on the reclusive millionaire.  They’re invited to stay in the mansion and become privy to Farrginton’s depraved operation.  But then a foul-mouthed angel appears to the photographer, warning that “heavy shit’s going down in this house.”  He’s not kidding.  He also proclaims that “God’s already pissed off.  He has been for five thousand years, and He’s sick to the nucleus of His soul.  He’s not going to show himself--you’re not worth His time...”

     Yet in the end there is a divine manifestation...but I’ll leave you to find out what it entails on your own.

     I’m not sure this book is any sort of masterpiece, but it is nastily effective.  The kinetic, expletive-packed prose may not be Nabokov-worthy, but does its job.  The events of the narrative weren’t always convincing (call me closed-minded, but I’ll never be able to accept an angel who says “Yeah, God works in fucked-up ways...”), although the minutely detailed acts of perversion, the authors’ stock-in-trade, most definitely were. 

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