"Knuckle Supper" Book Review
Written by Drew Stepek
2010, 342 Pages, Fiction
Book released on November 16th, 2010
This might hurt a bit but I want you to take a second and think of the vampires from the Twilight series in all their emo sparkly nonsense. Got the image in your head? Now think of the complete opposite and you have the vampires in Knuckle Supper, the new book by Drew Stepek. The closest thing that Stepek's vampires get to sparkling is if they accidentally swallow a diamond ring after they bite off a victim's fingers and pass it in their stool. Knuckle Supper is not for everyone. In fact it comes with a warning in the foreward by Gabe Soria. The book contains some seriously nasty stuff and there is no sugar coating of any kind. That makes it all the more refreshing to read, albeit on an empty stomach.
Whether it's for you or not, though, you have to give author Drew Stepek a tip of the hat. Ten percent of the proceeds from the hardcover book and one dollar from each digital copy goes to Children of the Night, a charity that works to rescue kids from prostitution. That's incredibly admirable and I wish that more authors would do something like this.
Knuckle Supper is narrated by R.J. Reynolds, a heroin addicted gangster vampire living in Los Angeles. He's the leader of a gang of vampires called the Knucklers dealing in a specific part of L.A.. There are a number of other vampire gangs in the area and they're ruled by King Cobra and the Battlesnakes. Each gang has its own image and territory. The Battlesnakes are Rastas. The BBP are preppies from Beverly Hills. The Batwangers are tranny prostitutes. You get the picture. The Knucklers are harder to define, but they're seen as the bottom of the food chain amongst the other blood-suckers.
R.J. and his gang kill other low-lifes and drug dealers in the area and drain their blood. They want and need to get high frequently though. They do this by injecting their victim with heroin and then ripping off their arm, using the appendage as a makeshift Big Gulp complete with straw in the form of a finger busted at the knuckle. The other vampire gangs get high in different ways including making human hookas and bongs. Regardless though, all of the vampires are using.
R.J's life changes drastically though when he decides to take in a 12-year-old prostitute named Bait. He had killed her pimp and didn't know what to do with her. At first she torments him like any annoying little girl character you'd see in a slew of TV shows and movies, but over time she starts to grow on him and there's a definite change in R.J.'s demeanor. He's still a ruthless murdering blood-sucker, but now he's got a conscience. The acceptance of Bait becomes a hot topic amongst the gangs. She's a human and these vampires can't turn others into one of their own, so why is she here and not being digested?
Stepek's take on vampires is the most innovative that I've seen in years. He took a creature that has grown tired and soft in today's media and made it harsh, powerful and interesting again. I don't want to get too deep into what makes these vampires different from your run-of-the-mill, sleeping in coffins, fanged monsters because that would give away some core pieces of the story. What I can tell you is that their reflections can be seen in the mirror; they can't turn others; and they need both blood and narcotics to stay alive.
As I mentioned above, Knuckle Supper isn't for everyone. It's a story filled with a harsh reality that would make the scare tactics you see on the nightly news seem like child's play. These are gangs of vampires that prey on the lowest forms of life in the bowels of L.A. and that including each other; injecting a 12-year-old girl in the mix makes things even more shocking when the shit starts to hit the fan or, in R.J.'s case, dribble down his leg. If you're looking for the Anti-Twilight, you've found it.