It has been called the anti-Twilight book. However, Drew Stepek’s Knuckle Supper is more than a simple rejection of the romanticized vampire. Indeed, it is a rejection of all things vanilla. Packed with violence, drugs, and anything revolting, this book will have you scrubbing your skin in the shower. It will also have you eager to read the next book in this humorously gross vampire saga.
Knuckle Supper is a truly unique take on the vampire genre. Based in Los Angeles, the story follows RJ, the leader of a brutal vampire gang known as the Knucklers, who will stop at nothing to satisfy their drug addictions. Equally as important as blood to Stepek’s vampire are drugs. There is no glamour in this world of addiction and violence. The author spares no disgusting detail in describing the manner of dispatching human beings for their blood, nor in the decrepit day-to-day dealings of a nasty drug addict. RJ’s world is quickly interrupted by the arrival of a 12-year-old prostitute, nick-named Bait. Perturbed his conscious, he cannot bring himself to kill her or throw her out on the street, much to the dismay of his fellow gang members. As he becomes more and more attached to the girl, the more he separates himself from the vampires and the more of a target he becomes.
To describe too much of Knuckle Supper would destroy the fun of learning this world. There’s no way I can begin to explain the bizarre violence of this novel. As a seasoned horror fan, I have never read or seen anything quite like this. Still, it’s not all the violence and grime that make Stepek’s work of fiction so engaging. Rather, it’s the candid depiction of characters that you want to discover more about. The reader is equally as curious as RJ about his species’ origins. You actively seek to unravel each terrible secret Bait unveils. More than anything, you wonder how it’s all going to end for a gang leader and his newfound tweenage friend.
Admittedly, it took me a while to truly connect with the book. Pages and pages of macabre accounts had me interested on a superficial level, but I didn’t find myself turning those pages with anticipation at first. It wasn’t until about half way through the book that I found myself so eager to finish. Indeed, getting readers to relate to a slimy bunch of vampire junkies is no easy task. But give it time and the characters will inevitably grow on you.
Highly recommend for any horror fan, Knuckle Supper is a great read. Plus, the book has teamed up with one of my favorite charities: Children of the Night. This non-profit organization aims to rescue and aid child prostitutes. 10% of hardcover profits and $1 from every digital download will be donated to Children of the Night. Knuckle Supper hits shelves this Tuesday, November 16th, so pick it up and not only support original horror literature, but also a terrific cause.