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Mike Reyes, aka Mr. Controversy, has considered himself a writer ever since he was a child. He wrote for various school publications from about 1995 until 2006, and currently runs both The Bookish Kind and Mr. Controversy, which is an offshoot of the regular column he wrote in High School. He's also authored several short stories such as "The Devil's Comedian", "The Devil v. George W. Bush", and most recently "Wait Until Tomorrow". He resides in New Jersey. Any inquiries for reprinting, writing services, or general contact, should be forwarded to: michaelreyes72@hotmail.com

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Cannonball Read: Entry 6 - "The Last Victim: A True-Life Journey Into the Mind of a Serial Killer" by Jason Moss

Book 6, book 6, away with book 6. Here’s yet another entry into the lovely madness we call The Cannonball Read. Boy it really seems like we’re into this pretty deep, but looking at the calendar I have to remind myself that there’s plenty of road ahead. 100 books isn’t anything to sniff at, but it’s sure a fun journey. After this entry, I’m thinking of including some graphic novels as unofficial reviews. (I like to read them in between every few novels so I give my eyes and mind a break). These will be labeled “Entry X Prime”, starting with Entry 7 Prime – Wanted.

As usual, if anyone has suggestions, requests, or dedications, feel free to post them on the Comments Board. Also, for the uninitiated, here's where to go for all the background you need on this epic quest,
http://www.pajiba.com/cannonball-read.htm . Once more, special thanks to Brian Prisco for allowing me, and all the others, to participate in this clusterfuck of literary wonderment. What? You want to sign up? Start here: http://gospelaccordingtoprisco.wordpress.com/choose-your-weapon-the-combatants/ Who knows? You might just get your review published on Pajiba, you lucky So and So!

Living a double life is not easy, nor is it cut out for everyone. Some are more cut out for it than others, merely because the mental and social sacrifices required by such a precarious position are more easily given by some more than others. After reading The Last Victim, it’s safe to say that Jason Moss is one of those few able to do it, but by the end of the book we learn as he does that sometimes it comes at a high risk.

Jason Moss was a brilliant 18 year old college student who one day happened upon a crazy (by conventional standards) idea: he was going to pose as the ideal victim/convert for some of the most infamous serial killers behind bars. Through various personas and correspondences, he would gain insight to their inner demons and try to find out just what made them the way they are. He wrote to Charles Manson and requested to become part of the family. He wrote to Richard Ramirez and said he would serve in Satan’s Army. He even wrote to Jeffrey Dahmer and talked to him about his ritual of eating parts of his victims. But perhaps the most chilling, and most dangerous relationship was the one that takes center stage in this book…his relationship with child rapist and serial killer John Wayne Gacy.

As Mr. Moss describes his methodology and the results he gained from his experiment, he also meticulously details the toll it took on his personal life. His relationships with friends and family suffered, his grades were starting to slip, and even in the end he was still plagued by nightmares of the maniacs he befriended. Naturally, Gacy is the one that’ll haunt him forever because of not only the volume of correspondence, but also the extent of knowledge Moss gained from his experience. He paints the Clown Killer as an enigma…all at once charming and terrifying, but almost always in control. Towards the end of the “experiment” Jason would learn this the hard way, by visiting Gacy in prison upon his personal request. The experience would scar him psychologically because it was that visit that showed him the true dichotomy of the man’s mind.

The gradual descent into Mr. Gacy’s psyche is the main theme of this book, and it’s gradually more and more frightening. I’d like to think I’m not that easy to unsettle, but with some of the letters that detail Gacy’s proclivities with his victims creeped me out big time. What’s scarier is the fact that this man was real and his crimes were real. This is the Boogeyman personified, and he claims a piece of everyone he touches…whether it’s real or metaphysical. I do not recommend this book to those who are sensitive to gory and explicit details of violent or sexual acts. However, if you love books and movies about fake serial killers, you owe it to yourself to meet a real one. It’s a quick and intriguing read that scares as it does teaches just how thin the line is between civilized and barbaric.

Next Time: It begins! I’ll review “Twilight” by Stephenie Meyer, and follow it up with the rest of the Twilight Saga.

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