Literary Signal Book Review: The Bedding of Boys by Edward Lorn
The Bedding of Boys by Edward Lorn: An effective serial killer novel about the awakening of sexuality and how it can be exploited.
Edward Lorn is many things, horror author, book reviewer, and YouTube star. Everything he does, he does well. He has a clear voice and a sense of honesty you don’t get from many people. This honesty bleeds into his novels as well. The Bedding of Boys due out August 18th, 2018 is the newest offering in his five book saga, All Things Lead to the End. The saga begins with Bay’s End, a fantastic coming-of-age horror novel that’s reminiscent of The Girl Next Door, It, and Boy’s Life. The saga continues with The Sound of Broken Ribs, a cosmic horror novel about pain and the terrible decisions people suffering through pain and trauma choose to make themselves feel better. We have the third offering, The Bedding of Boys, a serial killer horror novel about hebephilia and a boy’s sexual awakening. One thing these books all have in common is Lorn’s town Bay’s End. Bay’s End is reminiscent of Stephen King’s Castle Rock and like Castle Rock all these books are standalone stories with character cameos.
The Bedding of Boys follows two people, Regina Corsi, a woman who is a serial killer and is also sexually attracted to teenage boys, and Nevada Barnes, a horny teenage boy who just wants to play Settlers of Catan, two traits that seem to perpetuate one another. Eventually, these two characters’ paths cross, and it’s not pretty for the rest of the town of Bay’s End.
This book is not for everybody. The subject matter will turn away many readers. The people who decide to read will walk away decidedly disturbed. One thing this book benefits from is the clear voice of its characters. Lorn has a fantastic narrative voice, and he excels at writing characters. Regina, Nevada, Tommy, Wally, Nevada’s parents; they all feel like they’re real people. And in some sick way, he makes you care about all of them (yes, even Regina). Most Lorn books benefit from superb characterization. The Bedding of Boys moves lightning fast. Once you read that first chapter, it’s near impossible to put down. In a horror story especially pacing is key. This is yet another of Lorn’s strong suits. The plot progresses with every chapter, there are no lulls in the story. No needless moments of exposition. It’s constantly building. As the blood spills, the bodies pile, the characters evolve and change. This pacing spotlights the fantastic narrative structure that never loses its focus. Once you dive in, the book moves so fast that you won’t be able to put it down. You’ll find yourself saying, “One more chapter” as your day fades away.
When it comes to The Bedding of Boys, the book isn’t just about a woman who rapes then murders teenage boys. This is a novel about teenage sexual awakening. Lorn captures what it’s like being a teenage boy. The idea that sexual desire is constant but release is often in only in fantasy. The very real portrayel of teenage adolescents makes it easy to imagine a teenage boy saying yes to an older woman’s sexual advances, even if he knows they come from a disturbing place, especially in the case of Regina. Teenage boys can be smart, but they also think carnally first and with actual heads second. This leads to a big criticism of the novel. Nevada and Regina’s relationship happens way too fast, which is probably realistic. But, I didn’t really get a feel for the characters physical attraction to each other. While the rape (let’s call a spade, a spade here) is really unpleasant to read, it could have been expanded upon a bit more. Its not that we need more detail of the actual deed but perhaps some more detailing the situation would help make the incident feel real. The emotions that Regina feels for Nevada come right off the page; it’s hard to feel the same emotions from Nevada’s side. We get that teenage boys can be pretty one dimensional but I like my fictional ones to be a bit more developed.
Overall The Bedding of Boys is a fantastic serial killer novel, a fantastic novel about teenage sexuality, and most importantly a fantastic horror novel. The recommendation comes with two caveats. First, even though all the Bay’s End books are stand alone novels, if anyone wants to read this book, they should read the books in order starting with Bay’s End. The reader will appreciate the cameos,
Lorn’s world that he’s building, and it helps to makes Regina’s character more sympathetic. Second, this is a book about a horrible woman who does horrible things. It’s disturbing, gory, violent, graphic, and Lorn doesn’t shy away from the details. If you think you can handle this content, go for it. You’ll be in for a wild ride. I’ll be looking forward to Lorn’s continuation of the All Things Lead to the End Saga with his next book Everything is Horrible Now.