The theme for today's BBAW is forgotten treasures. Those books we feel should get more attention from readers, yet are overshadowed by the books that garner all the hype and hoopla. As a fan of horror fiction, there is a plethora of books for me to choose from. In the past year alone, there are numerous titles that have gone neglected by the average reader for no other reason than that they are categorized in a maligned genre. But for today, I'll offer a classic that has faded from memory and ought not to be ignored.
The Butcher Boy by Patrick McCabe - When I got back into reading and was looking to branch out from the Stephen King novels that had been my initial return to the written word, I read a list of must-read horror novels compiled within a book on writing horror. Among the titles listed was a book I had never heard tell of by an author I was also unfamiliar with, but the premise for the book was too intriguing to pass up. It's a story told from the perspective of a disturbed young man with a rather skewed sense of reality and a growing hostility to all those around him. As a way to make a living and redeem himself in the community, he gets a job at the local abattoir and seems to take a shine to it despite the menial duties he is given. There's a bit of a surreal feeling through much of the book as the young man rationalizes his antisocial behavior and increasingly violent thoughts towards certain individuals. Where Dan Wells' recent novel was titled I Am not a Serial Killer, McCabe's novel could have easily been titled I Most Certainly Am a Serial Killer.
The book received a fair amount of acclaim in its day, and even had a film adaptation back in the eighties. But aside from that one recommendation in that book on writing, I have not seen a single mention of Patrick McCabe's work anywhere. Pity too, because it's a damned good book.