BORDERLAND by S.K. Epperson


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This latest Kansas gothic from hard-working Epperson (Brother Lowdown, Dumford Blood) features a truly monstrous town--Denke, Kansas--whose main industries are kidnaping and theft and whose leading amusements are rape, murder, and cannibalism. Vic Kimmler, fired from the Kansas City police force for stealing confiscated cocaine to cover debts from his late wife's cancer operations, arrives in Denke with his two daughters and his rough-edged firefighter best friend, Nolan Wulf, to claim a broken-down farm that Vic's father left him. But their dreams of an idyllic retreat from big-city blues are shattered when they learn that (1) the townspeople have mounted a vendetta against the farm's tenants, Myra Callahan and her genius son Cal, disabling their car, cutting off their phone, and dragging their slaughtered livestock through their trailer; (2) Cal's dead father's rich parents are determined to get him away from Myra, by force if necessary; (3) the house seems to be haunted by a lank-haired spirit named Drusilla, who's visible only to Myra and Vic's girls; and (4) the town's economy has depended for generations on the citizens' monthly trips to outlying cities to rob, rape, kill, and consume their victims--a project now spearheaded by swaggering Gil Schwarz, pederast patriarch Jinx Lahr, and ineffectual police chief Ed Kisner, whom the Denkeans plan to recruit Vic to replace. The variety and sheer number of threats to her unlikely heroes take Epperson way over the top; the second half of this witches' brew reads like the most exhaustive catalogue of atrocities since the glory days of the Marquis de Sade.

Pub Date: March 12th, 1992
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Donald Fine