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Serial Killer Days: A Novel Hardcover – June, 1996

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Editorial Reviews Review

Here's a satire about horror for people who don't like horror novels. David Prill mocks society's love for big-name criminals with a story about a small town in Minnesota where an annual visit (and murder) by a serial killer has become a hilarious tourist attraction--complete with floats in a "Parade of Fear," fake blood running in the streets, inflatable weapons hanging from lamp posts, and a contest to choose the new "Scream Queen." Also, it's an effective coming-of-age portrait of a teen named Debbie Sue, who is charmingly distressed about her inability to be frightened.

From Publishers Weekly

Like Gomez and Morticia Addams, the townsfolk of Standard Springs, Minn., pray for bad weather on Parade Day. For 20 years, a serial killer has annually claimed the life of one resident, and the town likes to honor the occasion with a fair. One of the highlights is the crowning of the Scream Queen. Unfortunately, 18-year-old Debbie Morning is just too Pollyanna-ish for the job. Maligned as the "Girl Without Fear," she visits Gussie, a woman reputed to have swung a dead cat at school, and goes on a field trip to the nasty Cities, all in a vain attempt to acquire the requisite fear quotient to power her lungs. In the inverted society of Prill's nearly unclassifiable second novel (following The Unnatural), locals become disappointed when they can't get a murderer or child molester to appear at the festivities. Instead of Miss Congeniality awards, contestants are a hit when they, well, hit one another. Debbie's father, Arvid, spearheads the campaign to capitalize on death, mayhem and fear. A committee meeting quickly reveals that nobody really wants the killer caught because, as the balance sheet clearly shows, he's good for the economy. Most of the time, this is all so amusing that you barely notice the satirical indictment of society's sacrifice of youth on the altar of commerce. Like the preposterous Q&A pageant segment, in which sincere contestants seek logically to link violence and arsenals to peace and freedom, this little diversion is a hoot.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 218 pages
  • Publisher: St Martins Pr; 1st edition (June 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312144113
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312144111
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,362,773 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on May 6, 2007
Format: Hardcover
The Unnatural tells the tale of Andy Archway, who, from an early age dreams of becoming an embalmer. He spends his childhood in southern Minnesota collecting funeral related material and reading trade magazines like Embalmer's Weekly and pulps such as Undisturbed and Respectful Casket Tales. Andy's desire is no pipe dream--he has a natural talent for embalming. People recognize his talent and come from miles around to have Andy work on their loved ones (the Archway farm has a sign at out front that says EGGS--SHEEP SHEARING--EMBALMING).

One day, grizzled talent scout "Wake" Wakefield discovers Andy and offers him a scholarship to the Thomas Holmes University of Embalming and Funerary. At the University, Andy engages in scholarly pursuits, learning the finer points of embalming and running a successful funeral business (classes include Consolation Literature 101 and Casketing). Andy's no stick in the mud though--as the star of the school's competitive embalming team, he is also a big man on campus.

Upon graduation, Andy receives job offers from the Drabford Brothers and P. T. Sunnyside, the Hertz and Avis of the funeral industry. Andy opts for the Drabford Brothers, who offer him the opportunity to break the single season embalming record of funereal legend Janus P. Mordechai, the Henry Arron of embalming. Andy, blinded by ambition, embarks on a journey to the dark side of his soul, and learns some valuable lessons about fame, loyalty, love, and success.

Serial Killer Days also tells a story of a young person seeking answers. Eighteen year old Debbie Sue Morning lives in the small Minnesota town of Standard Springs. Each year for the last twenty years, a citizen of Standard Springs has been brutally murdered by a serial killer.
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By A Customer on February 23, 1998
Format: Hardcover
One review erroneously compared this novel to the work of Garrison Keillor. Although the book is humorous, Prill does not come anywhere close to the rich tapestry woven routinely by Keillor. 'Serial Killer Days' is funny, very funny in parts, and the book probably has the effect Prill desired. Pick it up for a decent, quick read, but do not expect a literary masterpiece.
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