While the Savage Sleeps

While the Savage Sleeps - Andrew E. Kaufman It takes a lot to rattle this seasoned veteran of the fright night generation, but Andrew Kaufman managed to shake me up with his shadowy serial killer mystery. Shortly after finishing the book, I received the link to the book trailer. Okay, I admit with my first click I nearly jumped out of my skin, then of course, laughed at myself for being ridiculous. What makes the book scary? For me, it’s the realness of the murders and the knowledge that this type of sadistic evil really lurks in the world. However, lots of books portray evils, so what makes this special? After sleeping on it, I determined the story possesses two important elements that when working together, is pure chemistry. First, the tone of the writing. In some plot driven tales, the tone can be lost and sound flat. Here, the tone is never over played or sensationalized. It is contained, restrained, and depicted with such stark detail that the imagination has no choice but to fill in the blanks. As Stephen King said, the best special effects are in our own minds. My mind was lead just enough to create the world Kaufman was hoping I’d see. Secondly, the fright factor is increased because of the story’s honesty. What do I mean? The characters never waver beyond their abilities. There is no super power genius or rich hero budget, but rather hometown people dealing with a crisis. Each character is credible. I can not stress how important this is in suspense writing. I recommend watching the book trailer. All I can say is I’m looking under my covers before I crawl in bed tonight!The most gruesome scenes happen within the first 50 pages. Luckily, the suspense keeps climbing, but those who can’t handle graphic detail might wuss out. The basic background plot of the male main character was a bit cliche as far as crime fiction goes. The cop who blames himself for someone’s death. Still, I shrugged it off because it worked with the story. Do I wish for perfection and want him to be shaped by a more original character formula, yes, but I’ll live.