SKA: Serial Killers Anonymous by William Schlichter | Teen Ink

SKA: Serial Killers Anonymous by William Schlichter

August 24, 2018
By Olivia-Atlet ELITE, Dardenne Prairie, Missouri
Olivia-Atlet ELITE, Dardenne Prairie, Missouri
325 articles 10 photos 1165 comments

Favorite Quote:
"To these the past hath its phantoms,
More real than solid earth;
And to these death does not mean decay,
But only another birth"
- Isabella Banks

SKA: Serial Killers Anonymous by William Schlichter popped into my radar when I was looking through the advanced reader books on Librarything. I am a huge fan of Gothic fiction, horror, thrillers, mysteries, and the like, which made this book appealing to me. I’m not afraid of hearing the voice (fictional or not) of a person lacking empathy, or see terrible deeds through their eyes; it makes for an interesting study. Besides, who doesn’t like to be scared every once in a while? Needless to say, I was very excited to read this book, and the synopsis hooked me, to say the least.

I began reading it, and the first thing I felt was anticipation. I wondered if they were going to be aggressive with one another, and if a relapse into murderous behaviour was as easily patched as someone breaking their sobriety streak. Everyone’s faces were shrouded in shadows, their identities completely redesigned to protect them. The whole setting definitely drew me in. It held a certain uniqueness that mimicked a broken reflection caught in the mirror of an AA room. It was off to a good start.

While the beginning was quite strong, I can’t say it kept me very entertained or surprised me through the chapters. I quickly began to forgot who was who because their “voices” are so simple. Each character’s dialogue is easily mixed up, and their behaviours are so similar that it feels unrealistic. There are an incredible amount of motives that drive people to kill, and many go through the nature and nurture path, which shapes them into an entirely unique case. Everything was about sex, involved sex, or otherwise insinuated it… except for one character, who seemed to be the exact opposite. It just felt like they were thrown in to add diversity.

Eroticism is a huge part of many serial killers’ motivation, but every single chapter described some kind of sexual relationship, even when the character was not in imminent danger of being murdered. It began to feel like the author wrote the book just to express that kind of sexual fantasy, which I believe took away some effect of the book. I kept thinking, “okay, we get it, what next?”. Eventually, I had to put the book down because I wasn’t enjoying it any longer. I wanted to learn why the killers wanted to get better, not what they were doing that would hinder their growth.

Time spans, ages, and point of view were hard for me to follow in this book, which I understand being difficult to nail down. However, it was a lot to try to balance. I read about half the book and had to keep going back to remember who was who. When the first meeting takes place, each person tells their story, but not in dialogue, which is slightly off-putting. It feels like we are being sit in front of a screen to watch the story, and not listen to the dialogue of the group or the emotion of the person relaying the tale.   

I also failed to see the charm many serial killers possess, the trait that keeps them from being caught. All of the characters were dry, cold, and I feel that it would be easy to spot them as “off” if nothing else. Sure, there should be a character or two that has those flaws. There is a difference between a psychopath and a sociopath, which would have been cool to see portrayed in the sense of realistic lives nurturing them into active murder.

I can usually find things like syntax structure, eloquence, etc that make reading the book more readable when things get slow, but I just didn’t see it in this particular story.   

I wanted to like this book- I wanted to love it, actually. And the idea is worth every bit of my affection. However, I believe the execution of the writing and planning threw it off. The book itself is a pass for me, but I would 100% reread the story told differently if the author would go back and rewrite it. As a writer, myself, I know that this can be a lot of work, and I do not want my critique to cause anyone pain, I want to encourage the author to work on his story until he has done the absolute best that he can.

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This article has 1 comment.

ty2kbob BRONZE said...
on Nov. 13 2018 at 5:03 pm
ty2kbob BRONZE, Monmouth, Oregon
4 articles 1 photo 18 comments

Favorite Quote:
¨Words are our most powerful source of magic, capable of both causing pain and healing it.¨

OOH, I like this story. Keep making more stores. (-: