Drawing Blood - Poppy Z Brite
This novel takes many of the themes explored in Lost Souls and raises them to a new level. We are introduced to two unique characters: Trevor, who survives a horrific family tragedy, scarred inside and out, and Zach, equally troubled, and like Trevor, searching for his place in the world.
Together, Trevor and Zach find that overcoming your past - whether this past is physically manifested or the demons that haunt you - is never easy, but through love, and the help of some very good friends, it is possible.
This book seems to be the author's metaphorical finger at the repressive attitude of Bible-belt America. It romps its way through themes of graphic gay love, drug and alcohol abuse, and criminality. Throughout, though, we are asked to confront these taboos and ask ourselves where the real crimes lie.
You will read this book rooting for the two boys and totally unable to put it down.
If you've read and
enjoyed Lost Souls, Poppy's first novel, you will be totally blown away by her
second, darkly homoerotic, psychological, horror story. All the promise of the
first book is fully realised here. It features appearances by some memorable
characters from Brite's debut novel Lost Souls, but don't expect vampires here.
Much of the action takes place in Missing Mile, in locations you'll already
be familiar with if you've read the first book. I defy anyone not to fall in
love with the central characters: Trevor and Zach. Their intensely passionate
love story is the focus of the book. Their relationship is shown in loving and
lyrical detail that is satisfyingly explicit, with some of the most highly charged
scenes I have ever read between two men.
Drawing Blood features bone-chilling violence, sex, drug-taking, and unconventional lifestyle choices in a subversive way that might offend those of tender sensibility. It's a weird mixed-up soup of a book, but the disparate elements come together and work brilliantly. Although in places it scared the bejabers out of me, I found it compulsive and memorable, full of vivid descriptions of people and places and incidents that will stay with me for a long time. Disturbing, yes, but ultimately uplifting, because of the way she draws all the strands together and resolves the central love story. Oodles of slash and an incredible plot make his book one of my all-time favourite reads.
Buy from Lambda Rising in the States here
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