The Serial Killers Club by Jeff Povey

The Serial   Killers Club by Jeff Povey

Reviewed by L.D.Y.

Hardcover (available in mass market June 2007), 279 pages, 2006

Rating: 8/10

Reason for Reading: How could I resist something this wacky? Even the cover made me giggle.

Synopsis: Oh, what’s a lonely serial killer to do? Find a social club, of course. But what if, like ‘Douglas Fairbanks Jr.’ – a moniker in a club full of Richard Burtons and Chers and Errol Flynns – you’ve stumbled onto the club quite by accident? After a defensive retalation against his own would-be-killer leaves a stranger dead, Douglas goes through his wallet and finds a mysterious ad that he can’t resist responding to…and since he’s already there, Douglas decides to use the opportunity for good, and, shadowed by a government agent, starts to kill off the serial killers themselves. There are a few problems, of course – the possibility of the real serial killers figuring out what’s going on, and the fact that maybe his own killing spree shouldn’t be so much fun…

Why you should read this book: Who knew (fictional) serial killers could be so funny? Misfits and hooligans alike, Povey takes the genre and turns it on its head, leaving the characters comically muttering about each other (for example, ‘oh, great, more childhood sob stories’ type of attitudes) and trying to one-up each other in their actions. Some of the characters are comedic, whereas some of the club members are far more sinister, with Povey playing the two against each other with hilarious results. Highly readable, if you’re in the mood for a crazed mix of memorable characters in a rather bizarre situation.

Why you should avoid this book: Presumably, Douglas’ naïve nature accounts for the fact that the reader can grasp what’s coming up next before Douglas can, but it leaves the novel on a humorous level when some additional suspense would have blended nicely into things.

Opening paragraph:

I guess it’s not every day you end up with a dead serial killer lying at your feet.

Fabulous quotes:

Legend has it that everyone had to stifle gales of laughter when Carole first joined the Club; his big gruff lumberjack voice announcing he was to be known as Carole Lombard should have triggered some real high-class mockery, but the Club had learned their lesson the last time something similar happened. From what Tony told me, seeing Raquel Welch pick up Errol Flynn and ram him headfirst through the wooden divider between two booths made the Club respect people a little more after that.

It is only when I park outside my house and let myself in that I realize I still have Burt’s head trapped in the hood of my oilskin.
When I take off my oilskins and shake the rain from them, it flops out and lands with a thud at my feet. A damp-looking Agent Wade looks up from toweling his hair dry, sees Burt’s head, and then looks toward me. His expression doesn’t waver for a second.
‘You, uh, bringing your work home now?’

Also recommended: 47 Rules of Highly Effective Bank Robbers by Troy Cook; Anonymous Lawyer by Jeremy Blachman; Watch Your Back! by Donald E. Westlake.

Also by this author: The Serial Killers Club is Povey’s first novel.

Fun tidbit: Povey was a lead writer for the hit BBC tv show EastEnders.

Would I read more by this author? Yes.

© Lisa Yanaky 2003-2007

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