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Bone Parade, The (2005)
Fiction Review by The Drug Stuffed Corpse

Bone Parade, The (2005) Mark Nykanen

"Some people were born to the manor."

Do we choose our destinies or are they predetermined by fate? Did I choose misanthropy instinctively or by proxy? Perhaps it was bred into me. Regardless, I thrive off of misery; sorrow is my muse and I am not alone in this regard. Ashley Stassler is an artist whose vision matches my own. Only the extinguishing of life assuages his sanguinary thirst for artistic veracity; he weilds a metaphoric scythe, slicing through the conventional family archetype by shifting the poles of power and deconstructing the commonly accepted norms. Undoing traditional concepts is but one of several psychological abuses this like-minded death dealer carries out as he mentally batters his chosen subjects. His 'subjects' are here because fate made it so; the cosmos have deigned them to be abducted, stripped of dignity and bombarded with a lengthy series of mental traumas in the name of art. Stassler is a passionate sculptor who believes that horror, fear and hatred are the only true emotions and it is in their verity that he creates his Family Planning series. The series is comprised of the typical nuclear family: mother, father and their progenies. But Edward Hlavka he isn't. His torment is the bellows that fan the flames of their desperation as he moulds his creations into caricatures of dread. Not unlike Thomas Harris' Hannibal Lector, Nykanen's antihero is a brilliant sociopath who assesses and evaluates each situation extensively before committing himself; he is to murder what Alexander Alekhine is to chess.

However, like all brilliant strategists who have thought out every conceivable possibility he fails to subscribe to one key assumption: that order is not a linear, uncompromised ideal. By disregarding chaos theory he ignores the premise that in life the variables are endless. Thus when a sculpting intern happens upon his hidden charnal house his experiment in fear goes awry. It is here that he begins to struggle to regain control; this is usually the tipping point for all serial killers real or imagined.

Unlike most 'intellectual' serial killers he kills not for pleasure, but for art. Therefore the question of what to do with the nosy sculptress who has no relation to his subjects (and is therefore more of a complication than a blessing) arises. Add to which a weakness for young flesh (he covets the captive couple's daughter) and sociopathic hubris (what he thinks of himself is what he believes others think of him as well) and his tightly woven web begins to unravel. Nykanen's bohemian artisan must avert police scrutiny, the sculptresses' overenthusiastic college professor, and his lust for the nubile teen 'Diamond Girl' in his quest for immortality; his ego demanding of him to live through time immemorial vicariously through his sculptures.

Bone Parade caters to sadists (but only in degrees) and overflows with dark sexuality, but is married to a 'hopeful' secondary plot that most will find enlightening; it is a shiny ray of hope in a dark, ominous chasm where you sense that you are indeed that much closer to Hell.

I am certain that I was born to the manor...

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