September 17, 2018
Reviewed by Brian James Lewis
I’d like to start this review with the following disclaimer: Warning-WARM contains very explicit sex and violence. It also depicts certain values which are not those of the reviewer or the site. They are the author’s depictions of horror. You have been warned.
Okay, if you’re still with me, Eric Kapitan’s first novel is intended as a follow up and fleshing out of the story he told in his book of dark poetry Burning Down Paradise. In that book, Kapitan tells the story of a young man named Timothy who was created by incestuous coupling of his mother. He shouldn’t have lived, but Timothy is a fighter. Unfortunately, his values aren’t much better than those of his uncles and grandfather. After a depraved existence the young man ends up in Hell. This would be the end of the line for most bad folks, but Timothy is such a tough dude that he kills Satan and takes charge. Still not satisfied, the new devil destroys heaven and takes charge of that too. The book ends with Timothy on his throne, mother bride by his side, contemplating the destruction of earth.
WARM drives down much of the same rocky road that Burning Down Paradise did, except some new characters arrive to facilitate Timothy’s takeover of Earth. Adam is put together by an abused mother and alcoholic father, who treats him badly. After the loss of his sister and only true friend, Adam goes haywire. He gets involved with drugs, white supremacist groups, and becomes quite the violent guy. All this leads to prison (a fun place to visit, but you don’t want to live there) and further violation and depravity. Once in prison, Adam does his best to change his way of living for the better. Unfortunately the results are not what he was hoping for. In fact things get worse and worse. That’s when devil Timothy makes his move.
Eric Kapitan certainly makes things a hundredfold more graphic and intense with WARM. Just dig that cover of burning hot skeletons from Hell surrounding Adam and his sister. While Burning Down Paradise alluded to some things, Kapitan jams them right in your face this time around. Hence the warning at the beginning of the review. When you’ve taken over Hell and destroyed Heaven with the aim of making people pay for your cruddy life, values cease to exist. Battered brains aren’t going to reach the same kinds of happy endings that normal ones do. Very intense, with an open-ended conclusion that gives the book its name.
As far as a recommendation, I think it really comes down to your reading preferences. If you like gritty, realistic fiction that offers a view into the minds of serial killers, you are going to enjoy WARM. However, if you read speculative fiction and dark poetry to escape reality, as I do, you might want to give this selection a miss. All the gang raping and killing overwhelmed me in this one. It is frightening indeed, just too real for this cowboy! Kapitan’s previous book, Burning Down Paradise is written in a poetic format that softens the rough edges a bit and I still give it a hearty thumbs up rating. Burning Down Paradise or WARM, which one will YOU choose? Make it easy on yourself and just get both to make your own comparisons!