H.L. Mencken famously wrote, “Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.” That’s a profound observation on human nature, and simplified, it means just this: the occasional urgent need to stab a bitch is endemic to the human condition.

William Patrick knows this better than most. He’s been in denial about his condition for most of his life. Which, by the way, is about to end. But it’s okay. He’ll get better.


Welcome Charles Phipps’s latest tale, Psycho Killers in Love, another offering set in his fanciful United States of Monsters. If you’re not familiar with the setting, it’s a place where vampires, sorcerer detectives, werebeasts, and pretty much every other sort of supernatural creature coexist quietly alongside humans. They cross swords and words (usually in the form of devasting, snappy pop-culture comeback references) as they solve murders (or commit them), all just outside the peripheral vision of the normies.

(And yes, werebeasts. There are werewolves, of course, but there are also weredeer, and maybe wereplatypuses and werenutria, too. I would totally read a werenutria story. I can see the R.O.U.S. jokes already!)

In Psycho Killers in Love, we are introduced to a new kind of monster, one we always knew existed. We just didn’t understand they were, well, a race of beings.

William knows he isn’t human. He wishes desperately that he was, but he has a little something extra. On the plus side, he gets back up after dying, though he’s uncertain how many times that can happen. He also heals very quickly, which is important when you fall from a window after being shot repeatedly and need to make a quick getaway while your intended victim is distracted.

On the minus side, it sort of compels him to (yes, you guessed it) stab a bitch.

William is a slasher, a supernatural creature, almost human, but driven by a dark passenger that hungers for blood and brutality. Like other slashers, he is immensely strong, and capable of recovering from death as long as the box office returns justify it.

For William’s father, Billy, stabbing a bitch was a literal thing, as in “dressed up like Santa and stabbed young women to death in killing sprees”. And while William is a bit more discriminating than that, he can’t avoid his fate. The Spirit of the Hunt is part of him, and he dreads the day it will compel him to mayhem and murder.

But he’s a good slasher. Well, at least he only kills bad people. (“Yeah, but they were all bad!”) He’s a little like the Miami Guy, compelled to murder murderers, though he didn’t have so fine a fatherly example as the blood spatter expert did. Hey, you work with what you have, right?

It’s a tough curse to bear, but it’s even tougher when, for the first time in his life, William realizes he’s not asexual as he has always thought. He just hadn’t found the right girl. And it’s just his bad luck that “the right girl” turns out to be Slasher Kryptonite, another supernatural known as an Artemis.

And what does an Artemis do, you might ask? Well, mostly they kill slashers, and they do it in a way slashers don’t come back from.

The pro is that she’s very cute, and she could really use William’s help killing an evil cult. A chance to slash bad guys and impress a hot chick? How can he resist?

The con? She’ll probably kill him once it’s done.  Damn, dating in 2020 is tough. And you thought your worst problem was Covid19 and murder hornets.

Can a guy who counts Chucky, Jason, and Freddie as colleagues actually get the girl? Probably not. But William is willing to die trying.

Loads of fun, and will have you quoting hilarious sections to your SO as you read in bed.

Five of five stars.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, August 25th, 2020 at 6:51 am and is filed under Meta-Issues, Real Life, Out of Character, Etc.. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

Leave a reply

Name (*)
Mail (will not be published) (*)