cover image The Avenue of Giants

The Avenue of Giants

Marc Dugain, trans. from the French by Howard Curtis. Europa, $17 trade paper (352p) ISBN 978-1-60945-200-1

Dugain (The Officers’ Ward) pens a tale of a serial killer that’s curiously short on murder. Based on the life of actual serial killer Edmund Kemper, the story of Al certainly begins violently, with his murder of both of his paternal grandparents on the day J.F.K. is shot. At age 15, Al is sent to California’s Atascadero state psychiatric hospital, where discussions with his shrink reveal classic sociopath traits. Al is more intelligent than Einstein, but was reviled and abused by his mother. As a child, he killed family cats, and he has sexual fantasies about decapitating women. Despite this, he’s eventually released and moves to Santa Cruz, where his record is eventually expunged. Al begins giving rides to hitchhiking coeds and even befriends the head of the local homicide squad. Al has trouble with “bad thoughts,” but it isn’t until the dramatic conclusion that the reader learns the extent of Al’s depravity. (June)