Lyon, Jonathan. “Carnivore”, HarperCollins 360, 2017.
A New Kind of Thriller
Leander suffers from fibromyalgia and lives in constant pain and his personal therapy is very strange. He manipulates, tortures and emotionally devastates his ‘victims’ as he tries to deal with his own physical and emotional situation. While his pain his chronic, he uses sex, control and class A drugs to try to cover it up.
At times, the plot becomes quite violent as Leander tries to become high and disguise what he feels. He intentionally and constantly puts himself into dangerous and sadistic situations that he describes in great detail. This is a disturbing story that is written in gorgeous prose with vivid imagery and a lot of brutality that is upsetting, unsettling and overwhelmingly sadistic; not the kind of book you read before bed.
Leander is wise, manipulative, intelligent and totally without morals. He is drawn to the most notorious, violent criminal in London and soon the loves of the two men are intertwined to the detriment of all who become involved with the pair. Drugs, murder, anal rape and sex seems to become a way of life for the two. They are detached emotionally from the violence they partake in and while it is disturbing to read, it is never gratuitous, salacious or pornographic.
I am not sure how to describe or even summarize the plot because this is one of those books that pulls you in and keeps you reading without, at first, understanding what is going on. We are simply pulled into a world that is much unlike our own yet we dare not leave.
The prose is of such horror, beauty and madness that it is difficult to dwell on them. Almost all of the characters are unlikeable but have been drawn in a way that makes us look at them. Leander makes us totally aware that he is a messed up person who is seductive who sells himself so that he can buy heroin to ease his physical pain. He is handsome, insane and totally dysfunctional yet I could not turn away from him.
Leander pulls us along with him as he manipulates the lives of others. His internal monologues are twisted rantings and he is both strong and weak because of his ailment. I do not yet know why I really liked this book; I suppose as it settles into my mind I will find that out.
I had to look away from the text several times so it is important to realize that this is not a book for everyone.