Pros: Really fascinating
Cons: confusing as hell
Rating: 3 out of 5
Stephen Graham Jones’ The Least of My Scars is all about William Colton Hughes. He’s a serial killer, but he’d rather skip the stalking of his prey and the body disposal portions of the game. A small group of people come along who seem eager to use him as a torture-and-kill sort-of service. That’s when things get really weird.
William talks to dead people, including a few he’s kept in his apartment. Now he’s working for someone else. All he has to do is kill the people they bring, and leave them messages of what sorts of food and supplies to deliver. He can even request who or what he’d like to kill that night. But after a night when he decides to kill one of his benefactors, everything changes.
This is William’s tale, but William is quickly recognizable as an unreliable narrator. I spent most of the book trying to figure out what was real and what was not, and what was real but not what it seemed. While I like having my head twisted a bit, this book gave me whiplash. I didn’t stop reading it, because I was too fascinated to put it away. But I have to admit, I left the book nearly as confused as I’d been before opening it. Just how unreliable is the narrator? Who are the people seemingly catering to his whims? Is he really in the apartment building he thinks he lives in?
The characters and plot were interesting if confusing. I would have liked at least a little more certainty of what was going on, at least by the end. If you totally don’t mind getting your head twisted without answers, and/or are much better than I at understanding the contents, then it’s a fascinating weird story that you’ll probably enjoy!