cover image I Was A Teenage Slasher

I Was A Teenage Slasher

Stephen Graham Jones. Simon & Schuster, $29.99 (384p) ISBN 978-1-66802-224-5

Bestseller Jones (the Indian Lake trilogy) again riffs on 1980s slasher movies in this indulgent bloodbath. Tolly Driver witnesses a massacre at a high school party at the hands of Justin Jones, an undead classmate who died during a vicious prank gone awry. Having gotten infected with a couple drops of Justin’s blood, and reeling from a near-death experience stemming from his peanut allergy, Tolly finds himself driven by the urge to go on a murder spree of his own. He dons a mask and slashes his way through his small Texas town. Only his childhood friend, final girl Amber Dennison, serves as a tether to the scared and fragile kid he was before the killing began. Will she be able to stop the slaughter once and for all? The story has a clear love for the splashy slasher films that inspired it, and Jones does a great job of landing the plot’s gorier excesses as the bodies pile up. Unfortunately, chaotic plotting undercuts the story’s tension and narrator Tolly’s many tangents make the pacing somewhat start-and-stop. Still, fans of meta horror will find a lot to love as Jones remixes well-worn tropes with glee. Agent: BJ Robbins, BJ Robbins Literary. (July)