• Christopher Tanner

Wrath James White Wants Your Soul to Bleed


I began this review process jaded, apprehensive at best, and with the intention, while respectful, to dismiss another horror title to the back of a book shelf then finally to a dark box somewhere.  I know horror, I know darkness, I fight it everyday in my mind, and I win the murky battle only to rise another day seeing my own dark eyes staring back in the mirror.  Wrath James White too, it seems, knows this world, he knows the impulse of man, the call to violence, the heat of argument and betrayal, and he also has won.  He has turned his mind loose for you to enter, for you to hear, and for you to feel.  Cautiously you pay the toll and step over the yellow line, a smeared red arrow beckoning entreat, hearing the dead bolt slide along the metal guide coming to a rest against the old timber of the door, you are his now and he is smiling.

Research will educate you in Wrath’s history as a fighter, a trainer, a lover of family, music, literature, and a towering figure to envy much as a small child would Godzilla.  Research will also lead you inevitably to his bibliography and interviews, one being a deep undertaking to consume and the other providing a depth of character appreciable to any faith or perversion.  Based on his interview with www.hollywoodjesus.com it is easy to see his reluctance to accept concrete labels preferring agnosticism or deism to the socially vacuous atheist moniker.  Changes of mind and label have occurred since this interview as can plainly be seen on his hard hitting blog: Godless and Black, he has embraced the term “Atheist” with warm bloody arms

indeed.  Wrath’s reasoning is sound as his dependence on the scientific method and hypotheses for the explanation of his worldview will put any non-believer at ease and increase the temperature of the devout.  But that is only partially why I chose to read his book “Pure Hate”.

Finding his books brought me to flashbacks of the movie “8 mm”, of Nicholas Cage browsing over dusty smut cassettes in a darkly lit room.  The procurement of certain Wrath James White tomes is quite troublesome as I was unable to find a sufficient copy of his celebrated “The Book of a Thousand Sins” which is reportedly dark enough to give Palanhiuk fans a nervous twitch.  The allure of a book reaching through his many styles as well as overt questioning of the faith will have to reign for another day.  Meanwhile “Pure Hate” is still scratching at the back of my eyelids, two dark silver canines glinting every time I blink.

From deep within the world of the macabre streets of Philadelphia, real tastes, smells, textures, and people come to life at the end of Wrath’s words.  There is a piece of him everywhere, he knows these faces and he knows exactly where he is taking you.  The details bring to mind the sterility of Brett Easton Ellis as he ruminates on fashion and workouts, but crumbles at the edges of the glass with car door dents and thorns ripping fabric.  There is a populated world here, one far different from the meanderings of the horror I expected.  The antagonist, Malcolm, is just beyond human, just beyond reality, as three protagonists converge upon a storm in a black Armani suit.

Be warned is he who hath awakened the beast, for with its Wrath you shall find only horror.

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