Liquid Soul Review
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An unidentified man was jumped by a mugger on the street in an attempt to take his money. Immediately, this potential victim grabbed his knife and slit his attacker’s throat. The blood trickled down his own skin and, for a brief period, he lived as the mugger and experienced a distinct time in the assailant’s life. That’s when it all began. That’s when he discovered “Liquid Soul.”

After this incident, the narrator (we never learn his name) seeks more individuals to kill in order to experience this same feeling, to live a significant event in someone else’s life. He believes that the soul is mixed with blood, and, at the point of death, this “Liquid Soul” can be experienced by slashing the throat and allowing the blood to flow on him.

Each person’s blood feels different. He slashes those from all walks of life—from the rich and famous to drug addicts and the mentally disturbed. He even believes that the victims thank him for stepping into their souls. He then sneaks the bodies into his back yard and buries them. He converses with them and they with each other. They’re the family that he never had. As this feeling wears off, though, he becomes depressed until he finds another victim. He’s addicted.

Liquid Soul is a dark novel that allows readers to peek into the mind of a psychotic killer, giving us a view of his perception of his victims. Each brief chapter focuses on the murder of a different victim and his experience of living a defining point in their lives. We know little about our killer, except that he has no friends, no family, and no purpose until now. And, as I read, I found myself wanting to know more about this man: how he earned a living, how he got his money, and how he never seems to get caught. Though this kept nagging at me, it seems as though author Matthew Carter avoided the issue to keep his readers from losing the ominous tone of the story. At the same time, because I knew so little about the character, I also had no feeling for him—neither good nor bad. This detachment allowed me to participate solely as an observer—an unusual position that I actually relished.

Though the book reads quickly, I often found it so intense that I had to put it aside and resume it a day or two later, just to take a breath. The narrator’s throat slashing is written in such graphic detail, even describing the characteristics of the blood as it differed from victim to victim. It was also difficult to read about the murder of certain victims, such as children.

Liquid Soul is a fascinating but eerie novel, and it’s definitely not for the squeamish. Still, though this is Matthew Carter’s first novel, I think I’m up for another one.

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