Ellis, creator of iconic comics and such noir-ish novels as Gun Machine, claims he's never had to
dispose of a human body. As he told Amazon.com, "Only animals. And, I suppose,
very small children. But they're kind of like animals." But after reading Dead Pig Collector, a Kindle Single from
Farrar, Straus & Giroux, you might be forgiven if you thought otherwise.
Dead Pig Collector
introduces readers to Mister Sun, a very proficient businessman whose trade is
the murder and spotless removal of human beings. Unfortunately, his
current client, in Los Angeles, has turned out to be so dangerously stupid that
Mister Sun's work and life are now in jeopardy.
Ellis says he "knew a little" already, when it came to the spot-on depiction of
guns and, well, body removal depicted in Dead
Pig Collector, because of "too many years spent reading true-crime books
and magazines," while "an evening on the internet gave me the rest. There's a
tiny little message board for pretty much everything."
effectiveness of the dark tale of Mister Sun's trip to Los Angeles lies in Ellis's
precision with such details, but Ellis notes that "There are a couple of tiny
elisions in there, not least because I didn't actually want to produce a
completely operable manual for efficiently disposing of a body. Just a missing
step or two. Pretty much everything else has been done in the real world. Not
by me. Stay away from my garden."
horrific, Dead Pig Collector also
displays a vein of humor, in part from its very matter-of-factness. Ellis
believes humor and horror "work the same way. Putting tension on an idea,
anticipation, and then the reveal and release." The humor works well with the
horror, the combination helping to create a stark yet interesting picture of
Los Angeles and certain aspects of modern life.
also lends the story a kind of clinical fascination is Ellis's depiction of
Mister Sun himself. "Nobody is the villain of their own story, which is why
killers written with awareness are always interesting. Mister Sun has a very
specific ethical position, I think, as well as a unique approach to the
operation of his life, that made him fascinating to me. Just sitting inside the
head of someone who applies that level of remorseless, careful logic to a life
of supreme competency." If he had to have lunch with Mister Sun, Ellis says he
would take him "Somewhere refined, like the restaurant at the Savoy. He would
appreciate the skill evident in their world.
for the all-important question of what Ellis would do if Mister Sun was after
him, Ellis says he would, "Buy an around-the-world plane ticket and stay on the
damn plane until I had a survival plan with multiple redundancies. The worst
kind of threat is the patient one."