Bentley Little loves cock. He’s obsessed with it. Stephen King writes about small towns. Dean Koontz has his uber intelligent doggies and blond chicks. Richard Laymon doled out the rape-y-ness in his work until his death on, go figure, Valentine’s Day. And Bentley Little loves writing about big ol’ swingin’ ding dongs. It’s a passion really. I’ve been reading Little since 2000 or so, and damn near every one of his books has the description of a swollen fuck stick flappin’ in the breeze. I think he finds them scary, too. What’s the name for a penis phobia?
(Google, here I come…)
Phallophobia. Hmmm… The more you know. Now to clear my browsing history.
Anyfuckeroo, here I am, at the end of Death Instinct, and I’ve reached my limit for the words ‘retard’ and ‘retarded’. If this book were a “product of its times”, had it been published when ‘retard’ was an acceptable bit of nomenclature, I wouldn’t have minded. But, when Little first uses the word, it’s a mother describing her son. “He’s retarded,” she says. Our MC, Cathy, is shocked and appalled at the woman’s use of the archaic term. How dare she! AND THEN THE MOTHERFUCKING AUTHOR USES THE WORD ELEVENTY BILLION TIMES TO DESCRIBE THE KID. How the fuck do you go from acknowledging that the word is offensive and outdated to using it as the main descriptor for a character? “The retarded boy did this” and “The retard did that” is used over and over again. Then, there’s a second mentally-challenged person added to the mix and Little has three (count them: 1… 2… goddamn, motherwhoring 3!) characters think the exact damn thing. “The man was retarded.” It’s fucking repetitive and unneeded.
Okay. I’m better now. The book is B-movie stupid without the B-movie charm. It takes its subject matter far too seriously for a Bentley Little novel. Far too seriously for something so dumb, too. How dumb is it? Oh, darling, lemme count the ways. Spoilers ahead.
Woman kidnaps Down’s Syndrome man from mental ward by dressing him up like staff. As if no one will recognize the guy’s not part of the roster. She goes on the run, doing “menial jobs for menial pay”, but somehow manages to mortgage a fucking house in the suburbs. The man with Down’s has a condition known as Savant Syndrome (formerly known as being an idiot savant, because, you know, Little is sensitive to politically-correct terminology when he’s not calling everyone retarded), and the guy’s talent is sex. Yes, you read that right. He’s the Rain Man of orgasms. He can fuck like nobody’s business. Good for him. The problem comes when the son they have together, the aforementioned ‘retarded kid’, ruins everything because he has Savant Syndrome too. Only his talent is murder and…
You know what? Never mind. I’ve said enough. Bentley little, I love ya. You’re normally my go-to guy for silly, over-the-top horror with a hidden moral/social message. But this? This steaming pile of offal crinkled my nose hair one too many times.
Oh, and hospital windows above ground-floor level are made of double-plated glass as a suicide precaution, rendering your ending inane and impossible.
In summation: Idiotic premise with unbelievable characters and leaps of logic that could cross the Grand Canyon utterly ruined this book for me. It’s one of Little’s earlier novels, so he gets a pass. Everyone has a skeleton in the closet that no one should see. Little’s just happens to have a boner. Recommended for Bentley Little completionists and no one else.
Final Judgment: Goes full potato. You never go full potato.