Friday, March 9, 2012

Rex Miller's Quality Legacy

Not sure how I ended up with this 'preview edition' of Slob, but  I love the Ellison quote that concludes with "It pulls a plow, this writing".

Unfortunate that Signet didn't use it on their first official printing in '87 (edition below).  Not hard to guess why they went with someone else's quote, though. 

The late Miller had a few years in the spotlight with his 'Chaingang' series of books (five in all) and a handful of semi-related novels.

'Chaingang' was Daniel Bunkowski (any relation to Bukowski?), a filthy, fat serial killer. The series focused on a Chicago detective (Jack Eichord) and his exhaustive search for him.   

Marketed in some circles as pure, gory horror, the books read more like bloodier-than-usual crime thrillers, and are, for the most part, well written, briskly paced, and buoyed by rich and fruity dialog exchanges.

Slob is broken up into approximately ten sections with names such as 'Jack and the Queen of Hearts' and 'Jack Eichord Meets the Lynch Family'. It's a format that works.

Frenzy, while not a 'Chainsaw' book, featured Eichord again in hot pursuit of killers and pornographers.

Like much fiction centered on the porn biz, the milieu is exaggerated and hysterical. He writes about the kiddie porn biz like it's organized in some sort of official way, and every pornographer is a rapist, scam artist, or personification of brutality.

From my own experiences on the fringes of various avenues of entertainment, I've met more pieces of shit making PG-rated movies than porn. For the most part, the porn people have been straight shooters.

Naturally, it serves the drama to tarnish porn people with a sleazy brush, so I don't fault Miller for his choices.

Note the affectionate review (below) from veteran fantasy author Marion Zimmer Bradley. She's not the type of writer I'd expect such a quote from. Still, good on her for stepping outside her comfort zone. 

Slice, Chaingang, Savant, and Butcher completed the 'Chaingang' series in '94.

Other notable Miller titles are Iceman and Profane Men, a favorite of mine.


  1. jervaise brooke hamsterMarch 10, 2012 at 3:13 AM

    The porn people are straight shooters because they represent the truth and the future, where-as the people who make PG-movies are pieces of shit because they represent lies, hypocrisy, and the past.

  2. Nice stuff. I remember reading SLOB and FRENZY back in the day after reading reviews of both books in Fangoria. Has anyone ever tried to make a movie derived from the Chaingang books? If not, I am surprised - given the modern popularity of anti-hero horror, he'd be a perfect candidate for an adaptation.

  3. Nice to see some love for this guy. He deserves more recognition. Slob, Frenzy and Slice (best childbirth scene ever??) were favourites of mine as a teen. I read Butcher several years later and was a little disappointed that Miller appeared to have abandoned his blunt, aggressive writing style in favour of a more conventional approach. He became more Thomas Harris than Jim Thompson.

    I'll give Profane Men a shot. Sounds cool.