TITLE: Dead Inside
AUTHOR: Chandler Morrison
AGE RANGE: Adult
PUBLISHER: Death’s Head Press
In this bleak and disturbingly erotic debut novel, iconoclast Chandler Morrison provides readers with a dark exploration of the nature of death, individuality, and generational identity. Along the way, lines will be crossed, taboos will be violated, and common decency will take an extended leave of absence. This is not for the faint of heart or weak of stomach. Or anyone who enjoyed Fifty Shades of Grey.
A young hospital security guard with a disturbingly unique taste in women. A maternity doctor with a horrifically unusual appetite. When the two of them meet, they embark on a journey of self-discovery as they shatter societal norms while engaging in destructive and abhorrent behavior. As they unwittingly help each other understand a world in which neither of them seems to belong, they begin to realize what it truly means to be alive…and that it might not always be a good thing.
If only she were dead.
None of this would be an issue.
But she isn’t.
And something has happened—is happening—and it terrifies me.
Let’s go ahead and address the obvious: this book is hyped as an incredibly fucked up, extreme horror story, and it definitely fits the bill when it comes to depravity. The main character’s necrophilia is on full display from the beginning, but we also delve into some scenes of cannibalism, pedophilia, and glorification of rape. Morrison doesn’t hold back from the messy details in any way, so this isn’t a book I’d recommend to anyone who isn’t already accustomed to extreme horror.
All of that said, something about the detached and repetitive nature of the narrative voice made even the most disgusting and graphic scene in this book fall short of actually affecting me. I thought based on the hype that this would be the rare book that would be “too much”, but honestly, I frequently found myself bored and wishing for the story to end.
I feel bad giving this such a harsh review, but I have to say my piece: the main character is so focused on being as much of an antisocial edgelord as he possibly can be, it overshadows the gruesomeness of the entire plot. I’m not saying I needed him to feel guilty or be less of a “monster”, I just needed him to stop devoting his entire life to impressing 14-year-old white boys on reddit.
I see a lot of people saying Morrison’s writing is brilliant and unique because all of this is intended as satire, and maybe that’s true and I’m the one who’s missing something here, but either way, Dead Inside didn’t work for me, and not for the reasons I expected. I’m glad it’s such a successful and harrowing novella for so many other people, but given that my issues with this story were so similar to my issues with the last Chandler Morrison novella I read, I’m thinking it’s time to accept that his writing isn’t for me.
Also, the character who talks about how much she loved being raped at 7 years old? That entire segment made my eyes nearly roll out of my skull.
WARNINGS (click to expand):
necrophilia, pedophilia, cannibalism, suicide, medical trauma, car accidents, graphic rape of an unconscious woman, graphic rape of an aborted fetus, descriptions of aborted fetuses and dead infants, glorification of rape, incest, murder, infidelity, drug abuse and addiction (including intravenous)
— destiny ♥