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The Serial Killers Club


The Serial Killers Club

The premise of THE SERIAL KILLERS CLUB, the darkly comedic debut
novel by Jeff Povey, seems a bit far-fetched at first: a group
composed of serial killers --- membership by invitation only ---
meeting at a nondescript tavern in Chicago? It's a concept that, at
first blush, would strain one's suspension of disbelief. But Povey,
a skilled scriptwriter perhaps best known for his work on the BBC's
"EastEnders," is onto something here. Human predators, by the very
nature of their repetitive actions, are attuned to a different,
amoral frequency. What if, in fact, they are all listening to the
same one? Would they not feel the need to gather, to socialize,
among their own kind? THE SERIAL KILLERS CLUB explores this
premise, as well as the proposition that it would carry within its
inception the seeds of its own destruction.

The novel is related through the voice of…well, we never do
learn his real name. He is known to the members of the Serial
Killers Club as "Douglas Fairbanks, Jr." --- each member takes the
name of an actor as a pseudonym --- but his qualification for
membership is a sham, at least at first. "Fairbanks" finds out
about the club when he accidentally kills a serial murderer
nicknamed by the press "Grandson of Barney," or GOB. GOB was
attacking him, and he turned it around on GOB, much to the surprise
of them both. In going through GOB's minimal effects, "Fairbanks"
finds the invitation to the club and decides to go in GOB's place.
The problem is that "Fairbanks" isn't really a killer. Well, at
first he's not, but he learns that a couple of members are
suspicious of him, so he has no choice but to eliminate them.

His problems increase when Kennet (no 'h' on the end) Wade, a very
strange FBI agent, attaches himself to "Fairbanks" and encourages
--- nay, commands! --- him to keep up the good work. What worries
"Fairbanks" is that Wade himself may have a much stronger claim for
membership in the club than any of the current members and could be
set on eliminating the competition. "Fairbanks" is lacking in
insight --- it is hilarious, in spots, as his observations and
conclusions march in opposite directions --- but what he misses in
that department is more than made up for in luck. As things explode
all around him, he manages to emerge not unscathed exactly, but in
better shape than he should.

Povey establishes himself as a quirky, unpredictable writer whose
characters possess a worldview somewhat skewered but true to their
own vision, at least as true as possible through somewhat cockeyed
lenses. While I doubt there will be much of a clamor for a sequel
to THE SERIAL KILLERS CLUB, Povey certainly will be worth a look no
matter what his future may hold for him.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on January 23, 2011

The Serial Killers Club
by Jeff Povey

  • Publication Date: June 22, 2006
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • ISBN-10: 0446578428
  • ISBN-13: 9780446578424