People Live Still in Cashtown CornersPeople Live Still in Cashtown Corners by Tony Burgess
My rating: 4/5 cats
One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

so, i love this book, but writing the review for it is pissing me off a little bit. as a procrastination tactic, because i really didn’t feel like burrowing back into my paper just yet, i thought, “i shall write a very informed review for once; one which edifies its readers and is full of facts and figures and well-constructed sentences and no cursewords or animal pictures.”

seriously, that isn’t going to fucking happen.

because i may be being fooled. i don’t keep up on true crime stories from canada. (except that one that happened last year where the dude decapitated that other dude on the busjesus) but so when this book claims it is based on a happening, i believe it. but i have never heard of it. so a-googling i go, but i find nothing. well, i am a budding librarian; i know all about other search engines, so i go there. nada.

then i look through the book and at the beginning there is a little disclaimer; “Cashtown Corners does exist; the people and events as portrayed here, however, are fictitious.” okay, fine, i understand we distance ourselves from a potentially litigious situation even though we claim in the writeup (but nowhere in the book itself):

People Live Still in Cashtown Corners is the vivid record of the inner world of pump jockey and infamous couple killer Cliff Klyder. History is clear on what happened at that lonely intersection over the course of one particularly bitter winter: six couples were brutally murdered and cannibalized. What history doesn’t give us is what exactly was missing in Cliff Klyder that inspired him to such complicated acts of evil.

now in the book, the character’s name is “bob clark,” i don’t think there is any cannibalism, and the people killed were not “couples,” but inside the book are crime scene photos, so why go to all the trouble of making it appear real if it is not?? and changing the name of the character in the “nooo, this is reeeeal” part of the writeup to make it look “ripped from the headlines?” don’t fucking blair witch me on this, tony!! i thought we were pals!!


this review was meant to be a brief pre-paper writing writing exercise, just to get the juices flowing. now it involves research and self-doubt and complete time-suckage. i liked your book, tony burgess, but right now i am a little pissed at you.

i even read this book as a distractioni plugged it in between a bunch of teen-fiction-class reads because i needed something different. and it supplied. it is totally gross and violent and wonderful. the whole ‘trapped inside a killer’s head’ thing has been done to death, but rarely turns out as well as this. eugene marten‘s waste is an example of it being done right, nick cave‘s and the ass saw the angel is near-perfection, and even though he is not a killer, hal’s character in infinite jest could absolutely have uttered lines like this book’s:

I don’t like faces on people in town so i scribble over them. I don’t actually recall what Feck looks like in the face. just swirls and loops out of a ball point. Round and round and round. When he talks, two or three blue wires vibrate horribly. Doesn’t make me want to answer.

there is also a difficulty with this character not knowing what kind of faces he is making which is again, pure hal. it is a creepy head to be in, but there are moments of very delicate prose to compensate for all the killing.

it gets muddy towards the endand i am still pissed off about this tease and i still don’t get all the 9/11 stuff…what i did understand, i really liked.

i will be in my trailer, writing a paper, awaiting a message from tony burgess explaining himself to me, please.

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