In Burning Down Paradise, Eric Kapitan brings us something pretty unique. The text is delivered entirely as a poem, and this was not a style I’d come across before. Before reading further, put away any preconceptions you have about poetry, because this is not what you might expect.
This story about evil, begins with the beginning of evil – with Lucifer cast out of heaven. There is a truce between Heaven and Hell, but the world of humans is fair game. We then follow the life, death, and beyond, of a wretched man named Timothy. He was born out of the worst possible circumstances and full of vengeance. His only pleasure comes from inflicting pain and killing, haunted by visions of his ideal victim. He is a serial killer, so as you would expect, there is plenty of brutal gore and sadism inflicted on his part. It will certainly make you wince. This story goes well beyond the confines of a traditional serial killer story. Again, the reader’s expectations are challenged and we’re given something different.
While the story and the concept are interesting, the strength comes from the language and the imagery created. The story is told concisely; what could have taken another author 20 pages to describe, is reduced in size (to a stanza) but not in effectiveness. The plot, the emotions evoked, and the gore are succinctly explored. It’s a tale that goes beyond the confines of our world and becomes something altogether grander. I really enjoyed this book, and despite being short, it delivers a great deal, and left me thinking about what I’d read. I’ve actually read it a few times. It does invite revisiting so as to be swept up in the dark world that the author has created for us.
Burning Down Paradise Book Cover Blurb:
Timothy has lived his life not knowing much about his sordid and violent past and how he came to be on this Earth. He’s a loner, never staying in one place for long, and the reason is simple. Timothy is a serial killer. He gets his kicks from the deaths of others. He chooses a particular looking woman each time and the more brutal and bloody the killing is, the more he feels alive.
But there is something which haunts even him. A woman, who drifts in and out of his consciousness and is always lurking in the shadows. She is his ideal victim, but he knows little about her, except that she is from his past.
When Timothy eventually makes the wrong choice with his final victim, he loses his own life in the process and is sent to Hell. Now it becomes apparent to him that death is simply just the beginning of his journey and that his true destiny awaits. A devastating war between Heaven and Hell is coming. It threatens to engulf everything and Timothy is right at the center of it.
And when he discovers the true identity of the mystery woman, it is a shocking revelation which will consume him even quicker than the fires which are already licking at his feet. He’s in for a Hell of a time.