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THE BEDWETTER: JOURNAL OF A BUDDING PSYCHOPATH ****
Written by Lee Allen Howard.

246pp RRP: £11.79.

Published in Paperback and Ebook by Three First Names.

Out Now.

 

The title says it all in author Lee Allen Howard’s book THE BEDWETTER: JOURNAL OF A BUDDING PSYCHOPATH. The bedwetter/psychopath in question is Russell Pisarek (note the surname), a twenty-something loner who lives with his sister and her young son, is estranged from his overbearing mother and lives a life of going to work in a lab that experiments on rabbits, playing on his PS4, ingesting the occasional drug he manages to steal from his job and generally having no direction. He wants to change, to grow and move on but unfortunately Russell still wets the bed and, thanks to the causes of his trauma, he may not be able to move on quite so easily.

 

Despite the word ‘journal’ being in the title the story is written slightly more traditionally, although it is all from Russell’s perspective as if he were narrating it, and what strikes you as you read it is that Lee Allen Howard has captured the unravelling mind of his lead character perfectly; Russell tells us that he wants to change, to improve and not do the things that he used to do in his misspent youth, and in the first two thirds of the book you believe him, even when you can clearly see past his twisted interpretation of things. Little hints and glimpses into his past paint a picture of an abused child, unwanted by his parents, a burden on his more popular sister and a general outcast – indeed, the only positive relationship in his life is with the owner of the local army surplus store, which might prove handy – and there is an element of sympathy for him even though you can clearly see where his life – and his psyche – is going.

 

But Lee Allen Howard leaves the juicy stuff for the final third of the story when Russell’s mind fully snaps and we get the full picture. It’s all in the details and whilst you can see why Russell has turned out the way he has, by the time you get to the end all sympathy is gone and Howard’s escalating of Russell’s breakdown is as gripping as it is repulsive.

 

With very much an AMERICAN PSYCHO vibe to the story, THE BEDWETTER: JOURNAL OF A BUDDING PSYCHOPATH moves along at a brisk pace once you get past the extreme and graphic nature of the opening. Thanks to the author’s descriptive details Russell feels like a fully realised character and possibly even like someone you know given how Howard writes him, although the LOL’s and smiley faces in Russell’s thought processes do feel like a little bit too much at times. Nevertheless, THE BEDWETTER: JOURNAL OF A BUDDING PSYCHOPATH is a grim and violent journey into the mind of a killer, budding or otherwise, with an inventive twist to the usual ‘my parents didn’t love me’ formula that will keep you glued to its pages until the disturbing, but somehow inevitable, ending.

 

Chris Ward.

 

 

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