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Book reviews for "Edwards,_Lee" sorted by average review score:

Goldwater: The Man Who Made a Revolution
Published in Paperback by Regnery Publishing, Inc. (1997)
Author: Lee Edwards
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Interesting man dumb book
Barry Goldwater was a politician who wrote a book called the conscience of a conservative. It proposed a number of positions which were popular in the extreme right wing of American Politics in the 60's. Barry stood against Lyndon Johnson in 1964 and was trounced.

After that he continued to be a senator for many years. As he grew older his economic ideas remained unchanged but he never joined the rest of the right as it moved to be concerned with Abortion and civil decay as witnessed by the growing acceptance of homosexuality. Goldwater as a person seems to have been honest open and in his personal qualities admirable.

The author of this book is a conservative. He believes that Goldwater was perhaps something that he was not. That is a casual factor in the shift to the right of American politics. A far more convincing argument for America's shift to the right is Lydon Johnon's civil rights legislation which changed the old south from a one party democratic province to a two party state. Added to this were the problems that Jimmy Carter had as a president.

Goldwaters ideas for America in 1964 were just dumb. (Which is not to say that the man himself was dumb. The world is a complex place and to work out solutions to political problems is never easy) He supported the continuation of a policy of states rights. This policy meant in practice not using federal power to achieve integration. It is clear that Goldwater was not a racist and his commitment to this policy rested on his ideas of government rather than on the true place of Black Americans. His policy however would have delayed the end of segregation for ever. The Jim Crow political structures in the South disenfranchised those voters who would want change. Further he believed that American should fight a conventional war against Vietnam to end the Vietnam war. Further that bombing should be used against Hanoi and civilian infrastructure. Such a policy had the very real danger of involving China in the conflict. His political instinct also lacked sophistication. He was a person who had been elected in Arizona a small state. He had no real idea of the sorts of compromises that were needed to achieve higher office. Of course his refusal to compromise were part of his charm to his supporters.

The book is interesting as it is about an interesting man. However the writing is so insular it is annoying. One can understand the author may not like the moderately left wing governments that had been in the 50's and 60's but to call them socialist or big spending lacks an understanding of what those terms mean. In Sweden the government controls some 65% of the GDP. The Labour Party of England in the 40's nationalized the steel industry the coal industry and all of public transport. The United States has never had a either a Labour or Socialist Party. Trade Unions were restricted in their activities to the 30's.

Sympathetic, but honest, deep, and well-written.
Lee Edwards' biography of Barry Goldwater is obviously sympathetic, but the scholarship is still quite solid. Edwards' sources are strong and diverse: interviews, oral histories, books, manuscripts, government documents, personal papers, etc. Edwards uses particularly well Goldwater's two autobiographies: 1979's With No Apologies and 1988's Goldwater (with Jack Casserly). Edwards dives into these books, comparing and contrasting, and comes up with some great insights.

Edwards is obviously a conservative and Goldwater sympathizer, but that doesn't detract from the book significantly. Two small areas where it does: (1) his treatment of the booing of Nelson Rockefeller at the GOP convetion is *very* confusing. He tries to say how Goldwater is not to blame, but ends up ruining the whole narrative. I actually had to consult Theodore White's "Making of the President, 1964" to figure out what really happened. (2) Some of his terms might be considered offensive (ie. Edwards has harsh words for homosexuals). In general, however, Edwards stays well away from mushy admiration for Goldwater and the other extreme, outright hatred, which you might get from some liberals. The result is a sympathetic, but honest and comprehensive account of Goldwater's life, and an effort to put his life into some overall framework.

(Addendum) 1/14/2002. The recent publication of Rick Perlstein's "Before the Storm" gives Goldwater readers an absolutely unbiased history of Goldwater and the conservative movement. If Edwards is a bit too partisan for you, I suggest that one instead.

The Founder of Modern Conservatism Was a Brilliant Visionary
Lee Edwards has a wonderful writing style. I found it quite easy to get sucked into this biography and relive the events he describes. There are very few books that I can honestly say were hard to put down - this definitely is one of them. As far as the subject of discussion, Barry Goldwater, he was a brilliant man. He was well ahead of his time and clearly understood problems that only today we are beginning to appreciate. Goldwater was indeed a visionary who established the fiscal tenets of modern conservatism that eventually established the foundation for Ronald Reagan. Goldwater was a rare breed - one who spoke his mind no matter the cost - and for that was admired and adored by many. Some of those "many" are today living testimony to the inspiration of Barry Goldwater. Yet, Barry Goldwater was also an enigma in that he defied conservatives later in his political life. He always remained a stalwart supporter of limited government, less taxes, maximum freedom, and personal responsibility. But in later years, he became discontent with the Republican Party when he perceived social conservatives as trying to use government to impose their narrow interpretation of morality and goodness. He apparently despised the use of government in this fashion just as much as he despised its use to redistribute wealth and engage in social engineering. Edwards believes that Goldwater was a Libertarian who only had the opportunity to show his full colors when social conservatives tried to use the GOP to further its moral goals. Perhaps Goldwater didn't really change all that much but rather the Republican Party drifted from his premise of smaller government in all respects. Despite these later differences, Goldwater was a class act and will probably always remain the icon for modern conservatism. I highly recommend this book to those who are interested in the history of the modern conservative movement. While the book is fairly lengthy, Edwards does a fantastic job of making it interesting and captive, such that it seems to make the pages fly by.

Partners in Chyme
Published in Paperback by Necro Publications (2001)
Authors: Edward Lee and Ryan Harding
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Ok, this may seem incredibly biased because I wrote one of the stories in this book, but the option for the author to separately write something about his own work is not available anymore (or not on this listing anyway). The 4 stars in this review is entirely based on Lee's story and not my own, though. I was a huge Lee fan before I ever got the opportunity to do this chapbook with him, and I thought his story here was a riot. Like his other hardcore work, there are unfathomable depravities backed up by a very strong sense of characterization which generally goes ignored by his critics. He's one of the most entertaining writers out there, able to pull off the sickening delights of works like THE PIG or THE BIGHEAD alongside extremely layered stories like "The Ushers." Anyone who enjoys Lee's work will not be disappointed by his outing in PARTNERS IN CHYME...I wanted to say in defense of my own story that it was written for the Gross Out competition for the World Horror Convention in 1999. The brevity of the story -- a valid criticism -- was a result of trying to present a whole story in under five minutes. I disagree that it is "far from being memorable," however. I base this on the grounds that I read this story to an audience in 1999 and although the chapbook was proposed less than a week later, it was not published until December of 2001; despite this, I still had people quoting lines from the story to me a couple years later, so I think it has a way of staying with you. There's a very good chance you'll think of my story next time you go to Subway.

I've also heard of a few people who refused to finish reading the chapbook after my story because it was too sick, so it's at least made an impression.

This is definitely a hardcore horror collection, written with fiends for disgusting fiction in mind. It was written for the fun of the art of repulsion (hence the title) with no attempt to frighten anyone (though we might have done that involuntarily; we probably don't seem like the kind of guys you're dying to go to the opera with, to paraphrase Lee's story).

"Both authors are capable of better." This I agree with. You'll still have fun with PARTNERS IN CHYME, though, if you believe the gore, the merrier...

Ryan Harding (

Sick, sick, sick
If you're looking for that perfect book to make yourself completely sick, this is it!

Partners in Chyme (pronounced KIME) is a 34-page chapbook, containing two stories by these masters of gross. When I first heard about it, I thought, "Two stories? Why only two?" Then I read it and understood. Anything else would have been overkill. Ed Lee and Ryan Harding achieve in these two stories a complete gross-out, enough to make you reconsider eating anything the rest of the day.

We start off with Ed Lee's "The Dritiphilist", a story about fetishes. You're wondering what a dritiphilist is, and what the fetish entails, aren't you? So was I at first. Now I'm kind of wishing I still didn't know. And I'm not going to tell you in this review. You wanna find out, order the book.

The last time I read anything that grossed me out, I was reading Ed Lee's "Portrait of the Psychopath as a Young Woman," and here he is doing it again.

See, this is why I don't even bother trying to write this hardcore gross-out stuff anymore, because I know nothing I can come up with is going to equal Ed Lee's mind. He's a sick, sick man. He's also, from what I've been able to glean online, a very nice, intelligent, approachable guy. But he's still a sick, sick man.

And Ryan Harding's "Damaged Goods" is no better.

Great stuff if you like it gross.

What a pair of naughty boys Edward and Ryan have been. I like it. I ordered this chapbook on the strength of reading some of Lee's other works and not realizing that Harding was a co-author (co-contributor?) (and not the illustrator). My gain. While I'm already on the prowl for more works by Ed, I've now added Ryan to the hit list. I can't seem to get enough of a good thing.

Introducing Chomsky
Published in Paperback by Totem Books (1997)
Authors: John C. Maher, Judy Groves, and Richard Appignanesi
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A most painful book to read!!
I just finished reading "Taken at the Flood: Robert E. Lee and Confederate Strategy in the Maryland Campaign of 1862"
by Joseph L. Harsh.

Ouch!!!! Talk about painful!!! Harsh (a history professor who grew up in Hagerstown) simply cannot write!! Some people can write well; others write poorly. Harsh is at the bottom of the latter group. (I feel sorry for his students -- they probably suffered severe ear and brain trauma from his lectures. And he writes as if he were lecturing!!)

He LOVES R.E. Lee. (According to Harsh, everything that went wrong was someone else's fault -- without exception!!) Then there are Harsh's numerous "moments" when he tells you what a particular person MUST have been thinking at any given time -- as if Harsh (or anyone else!!) could know! Finally come are his analyses of various events and situations. In Harsh's eyes, all ideas that contradict his opinions OBVIOUSLY MUST be wrong -- it's just plain "foolish" to think otherwise.

It's too bad that Harsh just didn't tell what happened and allowed us to form our own judgements. (By the way, he plays pretty "fast and loose" with the facts. Plus, he omits vital information that doesn't correspond to his interpretation.)
In his preface, Harsh even has the audacity to state that, besides his book, there are only one or two other books that cover the Maryland Campaign in depth. Well, I have been studying Antietam for over 35 years, have been there several hundred times, and have read literally thousands of books, articles, and documents about Antietam. Harsh is full of it!!

If you were thinking of buying this book, don't bother. You can gain just as much by pulling out all your teeth with a pair of pliars, then dropping a 200-pound lead weight on your foot.

Well Done
I agree with much the prior reviewers have said. Although I am not a Civil War buff, I found the book readable. I appreciate his methodology also. Harsh attempts to reconstruct the intelligence available to Lee when he made crucial decisions and to assess his decisions based on the moves he could have made given what he knew and in light of his strategic aims for the campaign. All historians should stick by this method. He also does a very creditable job in his attempt to ascertain what Lee knew. On balance very well researched and well argued. I especially enjoyed the end in which he places his argument within the context of existing historiography on the subject. One criticism I have relates to the maps, which is discussed in the review of one of Dr. Harsh's other books. I bought Landscape Turned Red as the result of reading Taken at the Flood. And the maps are much more helpful in that Sears's book. When you are dealing with a lot of different place names and different corps moving around, it makes the flow a lot easier.

(Disclaimer: I sat in on a few classes of Dr. Harsh's as an undergraduate).

Harsh Light on Lee
Much praise has been heaped on Dr. Harsh for this defining work on the Maryland Campaign of 1862. Awards have rolled in - perhaps the setup for the Pulitzer Prize for his planned upcoming works on the Union Side of the first two years of the American Civil War in the eastern theatre. Certainly, Harsh's approach of - what did they know, when did they know it, what did they do with information? - represents a step forward in understanding this critical campaign. Perhaps this method is taken a little too far, perhaps the author is too contrarian, eager to dispel existing notions and overturn previous judgements, but that's the fun of it - great academic arguments will result. Harsh's academic method - he is currently Professor of History at George Mason University, a school that he originally lobbied to be called "The University of Northern Virginia" (non-ACW fanatics didn't get it) - is unquestioned. A critical, thorough survey has been conducted of available original source material as well as established secondary sources. All told, it is an amazing story. This work is the result of decades of labor on this subject (Harsh is a native of Hagerstown, MD). One of the great points to be made here is that Lee was human after all, he made some significant mis-judgements. If you didn't know it from other exposures to Dr. Harsh you couldn't deduce from this work that Harsh consider Lee to be one of our countries finest soldiers. Even the best have their bad days - or campaigns, in this case. This is an absolutely first rate work on one of the most important (Harsh obviously believes the most important) campaigns of the ACW. Unfortunately, because of its academic format and size, it will not reach wide audiences. For those willing to make the effort, they will be richly rewarded.

How to File for Divorce in California: With Forms
Published in Paperback by Sourcebooks Trade (2000)
Authors: David Jon Lee and Edward A. Haman
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Money well worth spending!
Finally a book anyone can understand not just those in the legal field. Being in the legal profession myself I find this book to be my bible. It's easy and takes you through the process step by step. The only thing you must watch out for are the forms which are constantly revised by the courts. Although this book gives you the names of the forms you will need, it is still your responsibility to check and make sure it's the most current one. One great way is to log onto the court's website where you can download the most recent forms for free. I find this book very helpful and hope you will too. Best of luck!

Rebuttal to the previous review
The earlier review is old. It was written in 1999. This book was updated in 2001. I found the book to be helpful, up-to-date and the most clear of all the CA divorce books.

I highly recommend it -- forms change all the time, it is always important to check copyright dates on any book when using the forms. Plus check on-line resources to make sure the forms are accurate.

The information and advice in this book is far superor than any of the other titles in the catagory.

Rebuttal of the earlier review
The earlier review stating the forms were out of date is completely wrong and must be referring to an earlier edition of this book.

Plus, the review was posted in 1999. The new edition of this book came out in 2001.

This is an excellent book and if used right can save a lot of money.

TELEMATE.NET SOFTWARE, INC.: International Competitive Benchmarks and Financial Gap Analysis (Financial Performance Series)
Published in Ring-bound by Icon Group International, Inc. (31 October, 2000)
Author: Icon Group Ltd.
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This book is too detailed
This book is very difficult to read because it is not well-written and also because there are too many details. Furthermore, the author introduces so many characters in each chapter but never talks about them again later in the book. So it is difficult to determine who is important and who is not important.

I find it impossible to believe that one reviewer found this book "neither too skimpy nor too detailed." How else do I know that this book is truly too detailed and inaccessible for most readers? One of the translators, Edward Wagner, concedes in another book ("Korea: Old and New") that this book was, in fact, too detailed.

a very comprehensive overview
I read this book to get an understanding of the history of korea in the greater sense, and also as one of a group of books on Korean history. It is very comprehensive, coverinig gthe range of Korean history from a brief synopsis of the prehistory of Korea, through the major part of ancient Korean history to the bulk of more modern history. I enjoyed this book finding it to be an interesting read, with a lot of details, would make a good history text for a class on korean history, which is exactly what I wanted from this book.

Excellent introduction
This book provides an excellent overview of Korean history. It is neither too skimpy nor too detailed. It also contains a number of useful photographs (black and white) and illustrations (black and white), which helped me read this book through. While many books (either written in English or translated into English) on Korean history deal almost exclusively with Korean War, only a few books are available that describe the history of Korea from its prehistoric beginnings to the modern colonial occupation of Korea by Japan. Although Korea is the most important neighboring country of Japan, the history textbooks used in Japanese schools spare very little space for this topic. I recommend this book to anyone, who is interested in learning Korean history, as a first book to read.

Motor Auto Repair Manual: Early Model Edition/Early Models 1974-79
Published in Hardcover by Hearst Books (1984)
Authors: Louis C. Forier, Larry Solnik, and Motor Auto Repair Manual
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Could have Been Great !!!
This book certainly had a lot of potential. Unfortunatly there are too many errors. Some very obvious --- Samuel Cooper was not REL's brother in law. He was REL's brother's brother in law by marriage. And the photographs are not always correctly captioned. The dust jacket sleeve mentions over 70 some photos. But Lee was only photographed around 40 times. Some photos he counts twice when in reality they are of a same pose. And some photos could have been larger so the reader could actually see the beauty of the photograph. And some photos that have been discovered many years ago were simply not even in the book. This book could have great but the author did not do enough homework. He needs to go back and try again using better researchers.

Robert E. Lee was America's General. He was a great man who'd legacy is to be told forever. He did not support the radical slavery movements of the south but did love his native state. He was a calm and bold gentleman who's gentle face and lovig nature made him a legend in his own right. Lee deserves the honor that is preserved in this book. This book captures the true beauty of AMERICA'S GENERAL.

An excellent reference on Lee
This text should be in every Civil War collectors library.

Published in Hardcover by Cemetery Dance Pubns (2001)
Authors: Matt Johnson, Richard Laymon, Jack Ketchum, and Edward Lee
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Duck and Cover!
Triage gathers three of the leading lights of horror fiction, Jack Ketchum, Edward Lee, and the late Richard Laymon, under one cover for a hellacious trio of novellas all spun off of the same premise: A man walks into a place of business with a gun, and starts shooting....

Richard Laymon leads off with the title story, "Triage". He takes the most straightforward approach to the subject matter, with a grim tale of Sharon, a woman trapped in an office building with the madman who just killed all of her co-workers. Laymon hammers the reader with all manner of grotesque, twisted doings, so faint-hearted readers might want to give this a pass. The more daring reader will find Triage to be a fast-paced walk on the dark side; Laymon makes his heroine too real for this to be chalked up as mere exploitation. I actually had a few moments where I was afraid to find out what was going to happen to poor Sharon next....Now how many books have YOU read lately that got a reaction that visceral out of you..? Laymon was one hell of a writer, and I'm sorry I didn't discover him until after his untimely death. He left a great legacy behind, though....

Edward Lee's story also stars a heroine named Sharon, but his take on the subject couldn't be more different. "In The Year Of Our Lord: 2202" takes place in outer space, aboard a ship bound for a top-secret destination. Lee quickly gets away from the book's theme, and spins his story off in a totally different direction, effortlessly combining theology, sci-fi, and horror into a gripping, fast-paced tale. I'm generally not much of a Sci-Fi fan, so for Lee's story to grab me the way it did is really a neat trick. I was absolutely floored by the ending. This is a must-read.

Last, but not least, is "Sheep Meadow Story", by Jack Ketchum. It's the shortest story, and although I liked it a lot, I thought it was the weakest one due to it's far-fetched ending. It's a more down-to-Earth story than it's companion pieces, but it manages to be funny, creepy, and touching all at once. Ketchum is clearly a VERY talented storyteller.

The book is part of a limited-edition of 1500, signed by Ketchum & Lee, and Editor Matt Johnson. (Richard Laymon passed away before publication.) As you would expect from the always dependable publisher, Cemetery Dance, the book is just gorgeous. The only problem is this: Stories of this caliber deserve to be seen by more people than this limited-edition could possibly reach. In a perfect world, these three Authors would be topping the best-seller list....

Fine Horror
A woman sits alone at her desk, waiting for her shift to end, when her telephone rings. She hears a man whisper the words: "I'm coming to get you!" Seconds later, a man enters her work palce, holding on to a gun.

This is how the three stories of Triage begin. But what follows this differs greatly from one story to the next. The three masters of independent horror - Lee, Ketchum and the late Richard Laymon - each tell their own take based on this scenario.

Laymon's tale is dark and disturbing; the story becomes a race for survival as the killer chases after the heroine as she tries to find a place to hide in the building where she works. Lee's take, although fun and different, is a bit over the top and a little too long. He decided to bring his story to the year 2220 and sets in a a spaceship that just happens to be on a Godly misison.

The real reason to get this book is for Ketchum's take, which is called 'Sheep Meadow Story'. It takes the reader through a very realistic nightmare, where a down-on-his-luck man tries to make sense out of his disturbed existence. This story alone is well worth the price of the book. Another great story from an amazing, underrated writer.

This book is a great one for any horror fans. It has it all! I was greatly pleased by it and I know this is one book which I'll want to read again and again.

The Unwritten Chronicles of Robert E. Lee
Published in Paperback by St. Martin's Press (1991)
Author: Lamar Herrin
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lit guy
herrin deconstructs this civil war hero in a way that is both convincing and emotionally gripping, i am no civil war buff, nor am i a southerner. book journeys through all aspects of lee's life, from the relationships with his family to the relationships with the troops, both his and the enemy.
all in all a well written book, engaging, good historical fiction which doesn't make you too conscious of the fiction. if you can find it it's worth picking up, whether you're a history/civil war buff or not.

General Lee with a True Believer.
Robert E. Lee; the Hero of Chapultapec, the Hero of Harpers Ferry, the defender of the Commonwealth of Virginia. What is this General to do with the likes of Thomas Jackson?

The Stonewall is a gone-a-way crusader in the Lord; taken in righteous vigilance and authority, and a media star to boot. The political opposite of John Brown and twice as lethal. Here Thomas Jackson is visionary , messianic, and apocalyptic in the extreme and a star with a country of fans. General Lee has a big problem.

For those of us whom are interested in messianic leaders of the middle century of the American Epoch, Stonewall should take his place next to John Brown or Jesse James.

Put this book up on your shelf next to your Raising Holy Hell, Bruce Olds.
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, Ron Hansen.
The Confessions of Nat Turner, William Styron.

The Army of Robert E. Lee
Published in Hardcover by Arms & Armour (1994)
Author: Philip Katcher
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excellent reference book
Phillip Katchers' book is so far the best on the army of Lee. It is good to see that there is no references on the "romantic" side of Lee, but rather an objective, concise outline of him as a general, and his army. I really liked the way in which Katcher explained the different ranks in each unit. For this has been not one of my strengths. However, there are some very odd spelling errors in it. But we are only human aren't we ? The only reason that i gave it 4 stars is because i am not widely read in this kind of text. If anyone reads this, can someone tell me how i can get the periodical "AMERICAS' CIVIL WAR"? thankyou.

Duet for the Devil
Published in Hardcover by Necro Publications (01 October, 2000)
Authors: T. Winter-Damon, Randy Chandler, Edward Lee, and Randy Chandler
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Worthless and Disappointing...
After reading the reviews here, I had braced myself for the gore and sex. I knew it would be an issue. But after reading the paragraph exerpts posted by a reviewer below, I was too slicked up for this novel to not pursue it. What I was shocked to find out, was that the gore and sex did not offend (though it is most certainly a five star effort at being the most offensive), but rather that it bored.

After getting a few pages into the book, I began to wonder if this was anything but an exercise in the production of one extended, violent paper orgy. Much to my disappointment, every section I skipped to seemed to dawdle in the explanation of every disgusting orgasmic detail of some murderer, rapist, or teenage slut.

Granted, I'll give you that Lee does know how to turn a phrase now and then. And that's what's so disappointing. He knows how to write. He shows you that. Then proceeds to dawdle in these bloody rape fantasies that show only the most thin shreds of some boring plot, a plot that's used as an excuse only to delve deeper into some teenage masturbatory outburst.

I can't help but feel that Lee gave up a few miles back down the road; found it too difficult to pursue a real talent that shines somewhere, underneath, and has now succumb to whatever this mess is. I hate to see talent wasted, but if you enjoy watching that kind of trainwreck novel, by all means. Pick up this book.

Four Stars for Effort, but Geez...
The back cover of this book trumpets the statement, "Quite Possibly The Most Extreme Novel Ever Published." There is even an introduction written by gross out king Ed Lee, who proclaims this book, "Grosser than anything I've ever written or ever read." With a tagline and endorsement like that, "Duet for the Devil" has a high mountain to climb. How could this possibly be worse than anything the Marquis De Sade wrote? Well, it isn't. But that is not saying much. "Duet for the Devil" is still an obscene, disgusting, pornographic romp through a modern day America filled with serial killers, rapists, drug users, evil corporations, Satanists, and general freaks.

The book starts with almost fifteen pages of quotations and excerpts from the works of such diverse artists as Charles Baudelaire, Robert De Grimston (founder of the Process Church of the Final Judgment), Serial killer Henry Lee Lucas, David Berkowitz (the Son of Sam killer), Richard Ramirez (the L.A. Nightstalker), Zodiac, and Charles Manson. The inclusion of these quotes and statements is apparently supposed to set the tone of the book, and it does to some extent, even if it is a tone that will leave a taste akin to burning tires in your mouth.

It is a bit difficult to summarize the plot lines of this story because the two authors like to engage in numerous word plays, stream-of-consciousness constructions, and the use of "&" in place of "and." On the surface, the story is about the Zodiac killer, the maniac who killed several people in California back in the 1970's. Unfortunately, Zodiac did not go away, but has been rambling about America for some twenty years killing scads of people along the way. Accompanied by a scuzzbag and his sociopathic prepubescent daughter, Zodiac likes to change his methods of killing to confound local police and mix up the madness a bit. We discover that Zodiac is a genius with a propensity towards fits of rage and frothing at the mouth diatribes that invoke satanic themes and other such nonsense. In a country full of sickos, Zodiac is the high priest of human detritus.

Hot on the trail of Zodiac is former FBI agent Warren "Frank" Hawkes and his faithful canine sidekick Elijah. Hawkes is obsessed with tracking Zodiac down and putting an end to his sick rampage once and for all. Frank roams the highways of America in his constant pursuit to track down a killer who makes Theodore Bundy look like Captain Kangaroo.

Also weaving a gruesome path through this story is Professor Punk (yes, that's his name), an old acidhead with a talent for mixing up new and exciting drugs. His most effective concoction is Blue Devil, a drug that allows the user to mentally connect to other people's minds. When one nasty thug (by the name of Slice) happens to overdose on the junk, he turns into a rather nasty sort of chap. Punk must then track down the metamorphosing Slice while trying to locate his old buddy Zodiac.

This is truly a taxing book to read, as even the most jaded horror fan begins to wear down under the sheer onslaught of pornographic violence, murder, and general mayhem found on every page of the book. It really isn't the graphic nature of the book that gets under your skin; it is the duration of the sickness that grates. Reading dozens and dozens of pages concerning the torture/murder of a young woman or a detailed account of sexual depravity just isn't fun. In fact, it is sick beyond belief. Not the type of people to leave well enough alone, the authors try to break down accepted boundaries and create something truly dreadful, but give me a break! It is hard not to read this and wonder, "What do the parents of these two guys think about what their sons do for a living?"

Having voiced some well-deserved displeasure over the gratuitousness of the whole thing, it should be said some parts of the book are clever and show the authors to be well read individuals with a flair for the English language. A section deciphering clues Zodiac left in his letters to the cops in San Francisco is fun to read as well. Regrettably, these sparks nearly sputter out due to the excessively brutal aspects of the book.

There are no heroes in this novel, as even Hawkes turns out to be a degenerate. Every character turns out to be deeply flawed; perhaps in an attempt to show that good in the world is nonexistent (The authors refer to humanity as "mancruel" versus "mankind," emphasizing their beliefs about the true nature of our species). There are better ways to be nihilistic, however, and "Duet for the Devil" teeters precariously on the precipice of utter garbage. Still, serious gorehounds will want to add this to their library, even if it does become too much at times.

An Unprecedented Reading Experience...But Be Prepared!
During the 1990's when "Duet for the Devil" was a work-in-progress, excerpts from the novel appeared in small press, underground and specialty press publications whetting the appetite of readers who craved something beyond the conventional, run-of-the-mill serial killer novels typified by the likes of John Sanders' tediously repetitive "Prey" series and James Patterson's downright insulting "nursery rhyme" nonsense.

Despite the high concept and top-notch writing, mainstream magazines shied away from the material deeming the content too controversial and the presentation too provocatively graphic. Most major publishing houses refused outright to even consider the novel, while others demanded extensive cuts that the authors refused to accept. "Duet", it seemed, promised the real thing: a startingly original and ferocious take on what had become a genre unto itself in which writers cannibalized each other's ideas and regurgitated what amounted to the same-book/different-title every month.

After more than a decade in development and arriving, appropriately enough, on the cusp of a New Millennium, "Duet for the Devil" not only surpasses expectations, it pulverizes the competition. Its pyrotechnic, hallucinatory style translates into a poetry of pain and perversion, each sadistic stanza a catalogue of concentrated cruelty and hemorrhaging horror-haiku. It's a bad brown-blotter acid trip where your worst nightmares are on steroids and coming at you from all sides...including the depths of your very own soul.

Centering around the hunt for the notorious Zodiac Killer, the characters include former FBI agent Frank Hawkes and his faithful pooch, Elijah, together a tormented "Todd" and beastial buddy "Buzz" barreling down Route 666 in search of some very real demons; Mal, Snuff and his daughter, Julie, a viciously twisted trio of a nuclear "family" that slays together using the most horrific, almost unimaginable, methods; Slice, the erstwhile "Bard of Bones" now into "creative carnage" whose artistic abominations are experienced vicariously by hitman Pynchon and Professor Punk via a mind-linking drug called "Blue Devil".

Clever sleuthing, posited on some remarkably logical suppositions as to the true identy of the Zodiac Killer, adds an unexpected dimension of real-life suspense to an already tense narrative packed with an arsenal of condensed, over-the-top descriptive passages, such as:

"Pedro draws his .45, but two rounds hit him in
the throat, ripping fist-sized bursts of flesh from
his neck, all but tearing his skull from his shoulders,
his head connected only by stray strands of nerve &
tendon & the shattered links of vertebrae, like some
obscene parody of one of those red glistening candy-


"He clenches the hefty six-inch cylinder in his fist.
Whips it out, blitz-flicking his wrist, sleek chromed
shafts telescoping, slithering out with a metallic
whisper & a clink, as 10 inches of cool tactical steel
snap-lock into fixed position, extending his reach
beyond the baton's hilt..."

"Duet for the Devil" is by no means an "easy read". It makes emotional, intellectual and psychological demands that some readers may not be able to accomodate. It is an audacious, extraordinarily uncompromising sledgehammer of a novel, relentless in its depiction of mayhem, depravity and psychotic disintegration, and quite unlike anything you have ever encountered. It is one mean road trip to Oblivion, but if you think you can handle it then, by all means, hitch a ride.

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