I just finished Ashley R. Lister’s novel, Conversations With Dead Serial Killers, and I don’t believe I could have read this book at a more relevant time. The internet is rife with controversy over the recent Dahmer series. In the newly released horror movie, Terrifier 2, there’s a dinner table conversation in which the sister scolds her brother for dressing as a real-life murderer for Halloween. Every year at this time, as we embrace the “spooky season” vibe, we also ponder that fine line between tragedy and entertainment. Our Halloween traditions are a balancing act between honoring the dead and celebrating the monsters who hunt and kill them.
In Ashley Lister’s horror novel, Conversations With Dead Serial Killers, this same moral struggle is presented as we follow two con-artist brothers who exploit the deceased for profit. Derek and Clive Turner are not the most likeable guys, but a dastardly duo who’ll keep those pages turning! While Derek feigns psychic abilities and pretends to communicate with the dead, pocketing undeserved money from their surviving loved ones, Clive’s obsession with serial killers escalates to fatal proportions. This book is unique in that we’re not rooting for the main characters to overcome adversity or rise above. We are rooting for their demise. Even as antiheroes go, these siblings are a couple of bad apples who don’t inspire much empathy on the part of the reader. That’s not to say this book isn’t inspiring. It is a thought-provoking concept; the pace was 100% perfect for me, personally, and Lister understands how to use blood and gore without losing the plot to it.
There are a handful of interesting characters who play a lesser role in this depraved downward spiral of a plot, and honestly, they felt pretty real. That tells me they were written well, no matter how small their individual parts. My favorite was Sam (and I imagine a fan favorite as well), a ghost who’s come back from the dead to haunt these assholes and set them straight!
Conversations with Dead Serial Killers is sprinkled with so many fun facts about serial killers that even if you think you know it all, you’ll find a brand new nugget of trivia somewhere in these pages. Most importantly, though, it tries hard to remind us that these murderers and their victims were fact, not fiction. It makes the reader question why we put these scuzzbuckets in the limelight… while simultaneously putting them in the limelight. Seriously… horror fam, true crime fam, what is wrong with us? Lol.
I really enjoyed reading Conversations With Dead Serial Killers. I don’t have a rating system, but since it’s Halloween, I’ll give it 5 out of 5 pumpkins. Please, do check this book out for yourself! And before you go, get to know the author below!
Until next time, stay safe out there, boils and ghouls!
Ashley Lister is a prolific writer of fiction across a broad range of genres. He’s written more than one hundred short stories, articles and academic papers, and is currently working on his 63rd full length novel. Aside from regularly blogging about writing and reading, Ashley also teaches creative writing in the North West of England. He has completed a PhD in creative writing where he looked at the relationship between plot and genre in short fiction. Ashley’s current writing is an exploration of the horror genre which includes his series of novellas exploring his own interpretation of Lovecraft’s Innsmouth, the highly acclaimed Raven & Skull, a study in the horror of working in an office, and Conversations with Dead Serial Killers, a story about society’s obsession with the darkest souls.
One thing I love about the horror community (or maybe any community of artists such as writers, filmmakers, and visual artists) is the mutual support of each other’s work I often witness on social media. A simple share, retweet, repost, pin, FWD, or tag might introduce a new fan to a new artist, and for me… that’s what the Internet is all about, man!
So anyway, tonight I’m posting a short horror film I hadn’t seen yet. I thought some of you might have missed this one, too. Many thanks to Dane John Cobain of the Forsaken Horror Hooligans group for sharing it. (And if you haven’t heard of the hooligans, get ready. We’re coming!)
This 8 minute movie was written by Matt Sears. It was produced and directed by Matt Sears and Tim Knight, and it was based on the two sentence horror story: A girl heard her mom yell her name from downstairs, so she got up and started to head down. As she got to the stairs, her mom pulled her into her room and said “I heard that, too.”