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Book Review: Psycho Killers in Love by C.T. Phipps

Title: Psycho Killers in Love

Author: C.T. Phipps

Publisher: Macabre Ink

Publication Date: Aug 25, 2020

Genres: Horror

Shelves: Female-fronted

If you’re a fan of horror and urban fantasy that’s infused with as much pop culture as humor, then you need to be reading C.T. Phipps. His books are almost a genre all on their own – they’re stories where you assume the novelty will wear thin, that the narrative will lose its charm, but I’ve yet to come across one that I didn’t enjoy, thoroughly, from beginning to end.

Psycho Killers in Love is a pop-culture homage to 80s slasher villains, Stephen King, urban legends, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and even a little Scooby-Doo. The premise is that all the slasher villains of the 70s and 80s are real, their legacy endures through their children, and the new generation has become twisted up with conspiracy-fueled secret societies. William and Carrie are children of a legendary slasher, possessed of the same supernatural abilities and thirst for blood, but they’re more vigilantes than traditional slashers. Nancy is an Artemis, the archetype of virginal Final Girl who is pure enough to defeat the monsters, except she’s not a virgin, she has secrets, and she’s in love with William. There’s a brilliantly twisted, often taboo family dynamic between the siblings, and a psychic connection with Nancy that somehow just makes it all so much more inappropriate.

The opening battle/slaughter at the cannibalistic diner is so absurd, so violent, and so cheeky, alone it’s worth the price of admission. The attack on the deserted farmhouse with the vampire in the basement is pure gold, and the assault upon the Fraternity compound is equal parts action flick, slasher movie, and supernatural horror. The only scene that fell a little flat for me was the dream sequence where William and Carrie confront their father, but it’s important, and it has bearing on the rest of the tale.

Really, my only complaint with the story is that we don’t get enough of Jenna, the transwoman nature witch who is Wiccan first and a believer in evolution second, but I’m hoping we get to see more of her in future United States of Monsters books.

There’s so much I could say about this, but I’d hate to take away the thrill of discovery. I will say that William’s development of his slasher persona, complete with theme and catchphrases, is some seriously funny stuff; Carrie’s fangirl obsession with Stephen King was immediately endearing; Nancy’s inability to swear makes for some fantastic conversations; and Gerald the self-hating vampire is a fun sidekick, with the BDSM teases in his relationship with Nancy perfectly played.

Psycho Killers in Love does get rather heavy in the final chapters as family legacies and supernatural mythology come to a head, but Phipps keeps the humor going.

Rating: ♀ ♀ ♀ ♀

My sincere thanks to the author for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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