Simon & Schuster, Mar 9 2010, $15.00
Harry Bloch is an author who works in many genres, but each book he writes have in common one thing: none were published under his real name. His first gig was writing porn for Raunchy magazine. While at a back cover photo shoot, he receives a letter from death row inmate Darien Clay, who offers to tell Harry a true story of his life if he visits him in Sing Sing.
Darien explains further that he will talk to Harry if the writer will interview his groupies and writes a story about them with the convict as the star and each woman having a chapter. Harry interviews three women, but after leaving the third female, he goes back to her place only to find her cut to pieces with her hand missing; just the way Darien described how he tortured and killed his victims. Harry calls the police who inform him the first women were killed in the same gruesome way. The cops believe Harry killed the three victims until he is shot at and almost killed. As the police look for new suspects, Harry also seeks the culprit before more of Darien’s darlings turn up dead.
Told by Harry in the first person, The Serialist is an exciting but grim dark thriller that reads somewhat like an action-packed pulp tale. The protagonist is an average person except for his writing skill who finds himself in an extraordinary situation that requires him to rise to the occasion to extract himself from a deadly horrific mess. Even he is unsure he can do it, but like many a hero before him, Harry knows he must overcome his fears and shortcomings to face the enemy who is taking a page out of Darien’s book.