Eat Them Alive
Author: Pierce Nace, Year: 1977
Eat Them Alive, written by Pierce Nace (a supposed pen name), is a pretty bad book. Its basic plot is intriguing enough for fans of the lurid, just like me: A quartet of men rob and murder an old man for his stashed loot. One of them tries to abscond with the cash, and the others cut off his dick. Years later he plots revenge using a horde of human-sized, flesh-eating praying mantises. Really.
As told here with all the panache of a child pulling wings from a fly, the story is repetitive and monotonous, as our anti-hero, Dyke Mellis, trains the giant insects to not eat him for a good three-quarters of the book’s 160 pages. Finally, when the long-awaited revenge commences, we’re ready for the book to be over. Part of the problem with the way the story is told is that it really feels like the author is trying to work out some of "his" (there is speculation that Nace may actually be a woman) issues and twisted aggression here. Eventually, that becomes about as interesting as listening to someone go over and over and over their breakup with someone they've dated for only three weeks; an obsession no one else shares.
Impossible not to recommend for the freak show factor alone, however, this grotesque revolving door of bugs eating South American natives, bugs eating thieves, revolts its readers, then desensitizes them to not only its gore and cruelty, but to its bad writing. Once you've read it, you'll feel like you're a member of a very special club; one whose members have seen things best left unseen.