"Suicide Machine" Book Review
Written by Mike Watt
2010, 268 Pages, Fiction
Book released on October 13th, 2010
It's 2011 and women have been kicking supernatural ass for years now. From Buffy to Scully to Ripley, the hall of fame of female fighters of the occult and other strange things is a tough crowd to follow. Author Mike Watt attempts to add to this pathos with Suicide Machine. The book features Tanith Godwin, a former goth chick turned demon slayer after she’s imbued with the soul of an ancient warrior. Using her newfound skills, she puts down local creatures of the night throughout the city. This is her status quo until some local losers bring some nasty demons into our world to build a Suicide Machine and destroy humanity. It's up to Tanith to put a stop to this mess.
The premise of this novel sounds great and there are some really cool ideas scattered throughout. Tanith has this second soul in her body because of some mystical inking done by tattoo artist Rorshach. The Big Bad consists of people that voluntarily allow a demon to possess them, teaming up to summon forth a dark power to put an end to humanity. Plus the demons wear human skins to blend in with the rest of society. Unfortunately all of these nifty ideas are buried under needless back story, poor characterization and pop culture references that fall flat.
The biggest problem with Suicide Machine is the voice of the main character. It is very clear throughout the entire book that Tanith is a woman taken from the mind of a man. Her thoughts and speech come out like they're written by a hormone-crazed teenage boy. Maybe it's just me, but I can't see any strong woman repeatedly calling herself "Wonderbitch". Plus, I lost count of the amount of times Tanith collapsed into a crying fit because she just couldn't take everything. Buffy she is not.
It's mentioned quite a few times that Tanith is special, and because she has this old soul sharing her body named Demetrios, she's even more special. A reason for this is never given. If Rorshach could put Demetrios's soul into people with a tattoo, why didn't she do that to anyone else? Tanith is raped by a demon and admittedly she needed something to help her get through this horrible situation, but from the way the story is told, other humans are victimized as well. So why is Tanith the one to get this extra treatment?
Another big issue is the novel is poorly edited. I'm an avid supporter of independent books but — and I can't stress this enough — if you're going to publish something, get a few people to proof read it and give you an honest opinion. Once it goes to the printers, you can't make changes to it easily and it gets really hard to forgive constant grammatical mistakes and misused words. A lot of it is stuff that a spellchecker wouldn't catch. Case in point, on page 125 Watt writes "...I lost site of the others..." This is just one of many similar errors.
Suicide Machine had some great potential, but ultimately it fell flat. As I mentioned above, there were a lot of ideas that if fleshed out a bit more would make a great story. Watt is quick to point out at the start of the book that he had the idea for the story years ago before shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and True Blood were around. He does this in an effort to avoid inevitable comparisons to Buffy as there are a lot of similarities. Suicide Machine has some huge acts to follow, but instead of adding something new to the genre, it stays in the shadows of the great stories that came before it.