THE VENUS COMPLEX by Barbie Wilde narrated by Doug Bradley (Comet Press)
“A man rises out of an abyss of frustration and rage and creates works of art out of destruction, goddesses out of mere dental hygienists and beauty out of death. It’s also about the sickness and obsession that is LOVE.”
I passed up on THE VENUS COMPLEX when it was originally released as I was already inundated with books to review, handing the review copy over to a colleague. Once I saw her review, I knew I’d made mistake and kicked myself. When I heard that an audiobook version had been produced, I jumped at the chance, and I’m glad I did.
Classical art lecturer Professor Michael Friday discovers that he has a talent for murder, and goes about creating the perfect serial killer, gearing the clues to impress and intrigue a fellow lecturer. This is a deeply involving book, and I found myself amused and disturbed in equal measure. As Professor Friday meticulously plans his murderous schemes, Barbie Wilde loops the reader in, effectively making them an accomplice in proceedings as we get to sit in the passenger seat watching a full fledgling psychopath being created. Despite his deplorable actions, you can’t but help him. He has a considerable wit and the ensuing cat and mouse game that unfolds kind of makes you want him to get away with it all. With twists and turns aplenty, THE VENUS COMPLEX is an all-encompassing thriller, hidden in which, is a most fucked up romantic subplot.
And Pinhead himself, Doug Bradley does a fantastic job of narrating, fully submerging himself in the character. As it’s written in first person, it feels more like a confession than a work of fiction. Bradley is a joy to listen to, and despite the dark subject matter, brings a sense of lightness to proceedings as Professor Friday rants against the world
Fans of AMERICAN PSYCHO, the Dexter series and the recently adapted for Netflix YOU, will lap up this stalker lit, as this similarly has you rooting for the bad guy. Reading this, it shows how easy a guy like Ted Bundy charmed his victims. Barbie has clearly done her research into the mindset of such twisted people, and it shows. Despite her past in the horror industry, it’s hard to believe that this is her debut novel. Clearly, THE VENUS COMPLEX has been brewing for some time, but it’s definitely worth the wait. (Review by Nathan Robinson)