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By Travis Jeppesen
Reviewed by Jason Pettus
I saw in its introduction that Travis Jeppesen's Victims was actually first published in 2003, with our friends at ITNA only picking it up a decade later for the purposes of reprinting it; and that makes sense, in that this is one of those books tailor-made for a cultish fandom, and as weird as it is I can definitely wee how it might end up picking up small but steady sales for years on end, justifying its reprinting in the first place. And make no mistake, this is a weird book -- the simultaneous story of a Jerry Springer burnout and how it is that she falls in with an apocalyptic cult, as well as the story of her teenage son several decades later as he runs away from said cult, these two tales are told at once throughout the manuscript, back and forth and chapter by chapter. As such, then, the book reads just fine, with the kind of densely poetic approach to its traditional narrative that makes such similarly transgressive authors as Kathy Acker or Dennis Cooper so revered too; although I'll admit that the book works a lot better during its first half while it still has plenty of three-act plot to get through, devolving as it progresses into a much less interesting series of gimmicky prose-poem chapters and pointless digressions. Still, though, for what it's aiming to achieve, Victims is in fact quite successful at it, and it comes recommended perhaps not to a general audience but certainly to those who are naturally intrigued by its premise.
Out of 10: 8.4