My Pet Serial Killer
by Michael Seidlinger
Enigmatic Ink, 2013
316 pages / $13.99 buy from Amazon
My Pet Serial Killer is an honest look at relationships. Yes it may be surprising that it took a main character that disembowels unsuspecting women to explore the power dynamic that exists between any two people in a relationship. That’s just how Seidlinger operates. Seidlinger is the sickest of the fucks. Few can compare. What’s doubly refreshing, though, is exactly what is left in and out of the book. Occasional gory details make their way through the passages (how a person tastes like cinnamon, etc.) but the main focus is the relationship between the killer (Victor) and the observer (Claire).
Claire makes for a great observer. Her character is extremely strong. In spite of her general lack of violence she dominates the relationship. Victor is her mere pet. Supervision over the proceedings is one way that Claire ensures he is doing it right. Methods she establishes safeguard so that he doesn’t get caught. He can continue by following the strict procedure. The goal is to improve Victor’s numbers. From this acute observation two things become crystal clear:
1. Claire wants to watch over his performance. Elements of trust do not exist between them. Otherwise this situation would not exist. Sure she gives him what he needs (safe harbor, etc.) but the behavior is akin to that of a jealous member in a relationship going through texts, checking old emails (which she does) and in general keeping an eye on them (hers in a literal filming sense).
2. The endeavor that Victor undertakes is treated as something of a business. By reducing it to numbers (killing enough) alongside quality work (making sure that he picks worthy victims) it is reminiscent of the corporate world. Monitoring his every move can serve as more than a jealous relationship trait; it serves as a way of ensuring the quality of each kill remains high. Eerily many workplaces already do many of the things Seidlinger describes (recording keystrokes, etc.)
The reader never learns anything of Victor’s side. Everything known from his side is filtered through Claire’s own particular biases. Hence it becomes her studying him through her mind, letting the reader learn about both characters simultaneously.
The world is so intensely focused on Claire that anything outside of her immediate mind (school, random neighbors, and friends) becomes a bit of a joke. Claire is unable to take life seriously. She belittles those around her. Perhaps this explains her willingness to help out such a twisted individual like Victor. Before she even meets Victor she expresses her tremendous disdain while at parties and various clubs in her college town. By the end, Claire’s presence takes over everything. Seidlinger has created an amazingly twisted book where the gore serves as respite from the deep exploration of two truly fucked up individuals.