Review: Murderland II

The saga of Murderland continues in “Life During Wartime,” and the war being waged is over culture.  Jeremy Jenkins is a serial killer living in a world that idolizes and hero-worships serial killers.  And while this culture is tailor-made for psychos like Jeremy to be appreciated, he wants nothing of it.  He’s killed an unheard-of number of people, but Jeremy isn’t looking for fame.  He’s a delusional schizophrenic trying to save the world from inter-dimensional demons.  It makes no sense and yet it makes perfect sense.

The first installment of Murderland, H8, introduced us to Jeremy and the weird society he lives in.  Now, his girlfriend Cass has discovered his true nature and, as a fan of Reap, is helping him on his crusade.  Like H8, Life During Wartime is short and dense.  Author Garrett Cook jumps between different points of view, including Jeremy, Cass, Jeremy’s inner voice, and Reap commentator Ian Sterling.  Murderland will probably have several sequels, and each installment so far seems to flow seamlessly into the next (which doesn’t help the books stand on their own, but that’s okay, as the world of Reap and Jeremy’s “mission from God” play out like the chapter of an epic saga).

In Life During Wartime, Jeremy splits his time between declaring war on Reap and trying to solve an old-fashioned mystery.  Someone has skinned fifteen young men alive and Jeremy plans to make this new killer his next victim.  Also, we get to see some of Jeremy’s past and how his utterly insane delusions first began to manifest themselves.   With Cass’s support, Jeremy makes his crusade to save the world public, revealing himself to be “Mr 400” and challenging the tenets of Reap culture.  Some see him as the next evolution in Reap society, while the pillars of Reap gang up to protect what they’ve created for themselves.  A lot is going on, and it’s a single chapter in a much bigger story, but Garrett Cook does a great job of humanizing all of these characters and making this world seem real and plausible.  I truly hope we get to see more Murderland, as I can’t wait to see Jeremy face off with Godless Jack.

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