Saturday, June 15, 2013

Getting Off: A Novel of Sex and Violence (Lawrence Block, 2011)

Kitty used to be regularly molested by her father when she was in her early teens. Maybe not really molested because she did enjoy this "education" a lot. In fact enjoyed it so much that she killed the old pervert after he had decided to end their "relationship". And while she was at it, she also killed her mother since she was turning the blind eye to this whole affair.

Now she is wondering around the country, getting off on fucking guys and killing them afterwards like a true American serial killer should. No motives or explanations are needed because "This is what I do. This is who I am." Then - out of the blue, approximately around the first third of this 330 pages piece of shit - she gets (even more) disturbed when realizing that she has actually left five of her former playmates alive. And we finally get at least something resembling the plot - she feels the urge to find them and fuck them and kill them so "she can be a virgin all over again".

Halfway through this excruciating mess Rita comes into the picture and our ladies start some sort of a bizarre sex-less phone-sex affair. No worries, there will be happy ending and our heroine will finally get psychoanalytical revelation that she was just "Fucking and killing her daddy, over and over."  But somehow I doubt that Getting Off will be part of some Freudian course curriculum anytime soon.

It has frantic pace as Kitty travels the entire USA killing (and of course fucking) 20+ people but it never truly takes off the ground. It's just a repetitive stuff that doesn't move anywhere. Bodies are piling at a minimum speed of a corpse/chapter. There are few corpse-less chapters, but they mostly contain just some blabbing about sex (Rita's story). Desperately trying to be shocking and visceral by using language too vulgar and "dick jokes" humor.

A little exception is an episode with the unfortunate Graham who had joined SLA since he had an affair with our lady death. So he cannot be seduced and this is something that Kitty is most definitey not getting off on. Instead she's pretty pissed off (see 'cool lines' section of the facts). At least until she realizes that she doesn't have to fuck the guy in order to kill him. She's a bit slow, I was wondering about the necessity of that "rule" from the very beginning.

There are other attempts to spice this thing up. While the episode with a Mormon moron is mildly amusing, one with the veteran soldier doesn't work and is more or less pathetic. Also introducing three additional serial killers crossing paths with Kitty (on two separate occasions) just makes everything even more confused and boring.

So let's just finish this. Obviously, main question here is Why? Or why the fuck? To me Getting Off seems like a result of some sort of joke or bet between Hard Case editor Charles Ardai and Lawrence Block. Something like "let's publish some trash published previously as short stories and see if people will actually go for it". Not sexy, not funny and not violent (with an exception of scalping scene). Even crap like Money Shot is a masterpiece comparing to this.



Katherine Ann Tolliver, daddy's little soldier. Now at age 23, Kitty the serial fucker and killer

criss-crossing the whole USA

Body count
A bit hard to sum them all up. 21 are confirmed kills and I doubt that last guy made it, so let's make it 22 officially. There's also a carton of poisoned Marlboros that Kitty smuggles into a prison and since cigarettes there are used for trading I would speculate that few packs did their intended job for sure. And let us not forget this curious thing called proxy baptism (see facts section 'title') meaning that Kitty could also be responsible for killing additional 151 souls!

Kitty aka Kimmie aka Gloria aka Marsha aka Lindsay aka Pamela aka Gloria etc etc etc + Rita aka Ree + Angelica

One, resulting from a car crash.

Kitty is getting off on fucking and killing people.

And funny enough, on page 212 I've found clarification of the term "New Hope for the Dead" which is of course title of one of the Charles Willeford's masterpieces whose meaning escaped me. In fact I'm still not sure if I got it as it has to do something with Mormons and a thing called proxy baptism (see 'cool lines' below).
Cover: Nice and sexploitative as the title suggest but not very accurate. Indeed, there is a scene where she kills a couple but not with a knife. Gary is done by an icepick and Angelica is strangled by a scarf. Hermes scarf! By Gregory Manchess.

Cool lines
Forget it. Fucking thing was locked up tighter than an SCA member's asshole. 

Did the SCA people know about the GPS? Like, were they okay with him having an authoritative female voice telling him where to go and what to do? Like, couldn't he have a male voice, just to remove another possible occasion of sin?
Fucking moron.

"He was baptized a hundred and fifty-two times."
"He was? Why, for God's sake?"
"For God's sake, and for the sake of a hundred and fifty-one poor souls who went through life without being baptized. It's a Mormon thing, Kimmie. It's called proxy baptism."

[From Kitty's marriage vows that she wrote herself under the influence of too much and too strong coffee:]
" have and to hold, to love and to cherish, to suck and to swallow, to admit and to welcome into all the openings of my body..."[The Coolest!]

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