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Mantis

Novel by K W Jeter 1987.

Michael Turner is schizophrenic. His Jekyll side thinks a lot, about his broken marriage, his job, and his other self. As Hyde he likes to visit the Wedge, the nasty part of the city, and hurt women. He finds the woman he's been looking for all his life, the woman who has "tapped into the same wavelength". Both enjoy playing their game on the very edge, with the thrill of trying not to slip over it.

Beautifully written, the style is hypnotising, the ideas are interesting and the dialogue is magnificent. This novel is to horror what cyberpunk is to sf, and Jeter writes that too. He seems to cover the shadows of whatever genre he happens to write in; here he covers the dark fringes of humanity and pulls it off. The title comes from one of the many metaphors he uses throughout the novel, and though the cover implies a Guy Smith-esque animals-on-the-rampage type bloodfeast or a modern version of Pierce Nace's particularly nasty Eat Them Alive, no real mantises actually appear, and the metaphorical ones don't surface until page 142. Strange and wonderful.


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