Knuckle Supper by Drew Stepek
When heroin-addicted vampire and gang leader, RJ, reluctantly takes in a twelve-year-old prostitute called Bait, humanity is introduced to his otherwise lifeless existence. An unforgiving, vicious and realistic horror story, Knuckle Supper explores chemical dependency, inner-city brutality, religion, molestation, abortion and the very nature of evil itself.
In 2010, Knuckle Supper was called “The Anti-Twilight.” Now, re-edited and re-mixed as The new “Ultimate Gutter Fix Edition,” 2011's gold medal, IPPY award-winning “Best Horror novel” paves the way to the much anticipated, sequel, Knuckle Balled. Unlike anything you've ever read, Knuckle Supper is a bone-smashing vampire story... built for the 21st century.
"Combining the slick Hollywood decadence of a Bret Easton Ellis novel and the drug-addled realism of Irvine Welsh's Trainspotting, author Drew Stepek gleefully takes the piss out of the staid troupes of the genre by injecting LA's seedy underbelly with heroin-addicted vampires.”-Rue Morgue
"Even though there are various types of exploitation involved in the lives/backgrounds of almost all the players in this blood fest, Stepek is masterful in enabling the reader to actually feel sorrow and empathy for a few of the characters (not only RJ and Bait) and to see the human in the monsters and the monster in the humans.”-Fangoria Magazine
"The novel covers religious fanaticism, abortion, child prostitution, gang violence, drug addiction, and then wraps it in a loving layer of chocolate by letting vampires take responsibility for these things. And when you've finished the book, you'll end up feeling guilty, because the pen is a pistol, and it sure as hell wasn't aimed at vampires."-Vampires.com
"The book's breakneck pace, gruesome violence, and punk noir prose should endear it to genre fans, but it's RJ and Bait's desperate lunge toward a salvation that make Knuckle Supper such a memorable experience."-Famous Monsters Underground
“It’s a drug-fueled, modern-day vampire saga that reads like a bloodsucking sequel to 1979‘s The Warriors written by James Ellroy. And fans of hardcore horror fiction take blissful note: Stepek’s wicked prose can cut awfully deep." -Bloody Disgusting
ALSO FROM DREW STEPEK
Best Modern-day Vampire story ever!
So first off let's approach the fact that Drew is such an amazing human being. He is a massive supporter of the community and the profits from this book go to the charity Children of the Night. Which helps get kids off the streets and out of prostitution, which I think is an amazing cause and just shows the kind and caring person Drew is. Noooow let's move into the subject of Drew Stepek the writer. For most of you who know me, I am a hardcore Buffy the Vampire Slayer nerd, so I am always looking for books with a different take on vampire lore. I was always a fan of Spike, that being said I know the type of Vampire I like. So I tend to sway more toward the idea of vampires being more lethal predators that are void of human emotion or just general psychopaths due to their long stint of existence. But this story is a very fresh take on vampires that still have human weaknesses. I mean, Dez kinda fits that template of vicious killer as when he almost loses it beating on a pimp, whereas Rj seems to be the more calculating side of the partnership. But his comparison for the girl held by the pimp, shows he does not just see humans as a means to an end. So what is more deadly than an average vampire? Try a vampire in a gang addicted to Heroin. Yep, you heard me correctly. So you want something creative, edgy, and blood-soaked. This is your book. Long gone are the Lost Boy days as this story is gritty, messed up, and provokes real questions about what it is like to live on the mean streets. So we meet the Knucklers, then we have the other vampire gangs, one being the Blue Blooded Perrys who are obnoxious asshats in my opinion. Showing the very different divide and how Dez and RJ seem to be looked down on by the others. Like the Battlesnakes who always seem to use Dez and Rj when they don't want to get their hands dirty. I enjoyed the banter between these two, but the nods to a certain shiny franchise had me in stitches. Laced with dark humour and some comedic scenes mixed with horror. There are some brilliant elements rolled into this story, the gore and grossness is classic Drew at his finest. I enjoyed the character development and the bond between Bait and RJ. The story itself was a refreshing new take on the vampire story that steers clear of some of the cliches. In fact, in some instances it takes the piss out of them. I'm sorry but books, films and whatever vampire-based stories are just so romanticised. I enjoyed the way the relationship between the two, the friction in the gang between Dez and RJ seems to increase as RJ gets closer to Bait. Resulting in the bridge between the two brothers only getting wider as Dez shows his reckless nature. Then to hear about Bait's back story, about the abuse she endured. It just pushes on the heartbreaking truth that this is a reality for children who end up on the streets. I guess the closer they get the more like a big brother to her RJ becomes. Drew pulls hard at the heartstrings to really make you consider real life issues. It also makes you realise why the money from this book goes to the Children of the Night. The way that Drew brings attention to the subject of drug abuse, gang life and child abuse shows the deep care and research, this guy did for the story. I love the way the story progresses and the gang war between the vampires over drugs and territory really had me sucked in. Pardon the pun, but he is amazing at setting the scene and creating relatable characters. The violence, the tension only building up more as the story goes on. The character Eldritch is an obvious spoof on Dracula, which I am so living for in this story. As shit hits the fan the bond between RJ and Bait becomes unbreakable and everything goes to hell from there. The ending made me a sobbing mess and honestly, hit so many nerves with me. The best way to describe this book would be Leon meets a gangster version of the Lost Boys. This book has everything I could wish for, this is the modern-day vampire story I have been waiting for.
Brutish, Cruel, and Mean, Like Vampires Are Meant To Be
If like me, of the two major vampire films released in 1987, you prefer the Kathryn Bigelow directed Near Dark over Joel Schumacher's The Lost Boys, Knuckle Supper is the vampire novel for you. The Lost Boys may have had the audience and the soundtrack, but Near Dark had the brutality, originality, and grittiness that befitted the monsters at the heart of the story. Knuckle Supper carries that tradition into 21st-century horror literature. Stepek writes vampires the way one might expect from someone who wants to take the monsters back from the L. J. Smiths and Stephenie Meyers of the world, restoring them to the darkness and underground where they belong. It's difficult for me to describe what he's put together in these pages that race past the reader at a rapid-fire pace. Knuckle Supper is, in effect, Anne Rice meets Irvine Welsh, Near Dark meets Requiem for a Dream, and a little bit The Warriors meets 30 Days of Night. If that doesn't intrigue you, I honestly don't know how else I can try to describe it without just reading the book to you, and we know I'm not going to do that. We meet RJ and Dez as they're preparing to murder a pimp in the home they're squatting in, a steadily depreciating house once belonging to a former child star turned heroin addict. RJ, Dez, and the rest of the Knucklers aren't your typical Hollywood vampires, even though they live in Los Angeles. Blood isn't their only addiction. They need heroin to survive. Unfortunately, it's not as simple as spiking a needle into their veins to get their fix. They need blood to carry the high into their starving, desiccated internal organs. Enter the pimp they're about to have for supper. The (almost) 13-year-old prostitute carelessly tossed into the bathroom is all but forgotten as RJ and Dez make a mess of the place in their desperate chase for a fix. Against his better judgment, and displaying more humanity than his peers, RJ decides not to kill the young girl. This act of uncharacteristic decency is how Bait becomes part of his family. It's also how everything begins to spiral out of control, ultimately bringing RJ face-to-face with The Cloth, an organization he'd dismissed as nothing but a vampire's boogeyman, and the painful truth at the core of what RJ actually is. Drew Stepek introduces readers to a Los Angeles populated by a different sort of gang, consisting of a wholly different kind of gangster from what we've become familiar with from popular culture. The city is divided up between tenuously allied gangs of vampires, each feeding and dealing on their own turf. Brutal, far from immortal, and impulsive, Stepek's vampires are prone to massive errors in judgment, and it's only a matter of time before the flimsy alliances fracture and violence ensues. There's more to this story than drug addiction and graphic violence, though there's plenty of both. There's also a depth and character to this story that underscores the superficial, splattery elements of the narrative.
Like No Other
Best Vampire Novel I have read in such a long time. Fantastic writing, amazing characters. I will definitely be getting the next book I first read Drew’s work on Scumbags, which is amazing, with Knuckle Supper I was amazed by his writing style. This book is hands down in my top 5 vampire books of all time! Some much talent! Fucking Great!!!!!!!!!
VAMPIRES SUCK (OVER-USED VAMPIRE PUN NUMBER ONE)
I came to this book a bit reluctantly because vampires are not really my thing. Except for those ones in 30 DAYS OF NIGHT. Oh, and those ones in FROM DUSK TILL DAWN. I guess I mean I don't like fucking bloodsuckers who could be described as "brooding" or "moody" or "thinly disguised masturbatory aids". Not that there's anything wrong with that last thing, far be it from me to dictate what gets your knuckles shuffling... knuckle shuffling... oh right KNUCKLE SUPPER, that's what I'm supposed to be reviewing. Ahem! Well, I'm happy to report that the vampires of Drew Stepek's novel are of that rarer breed of carotid-crunchers I like, the kind who end up plastered in more blood than they manage to guzzle.... though I'd be doing the book a disservice to simply highlight the body count, as there is a heart to this story as well that manages to touch on a number of important social issues by re-jigging the standard tropes (the eroticism of vampires, for example, being neatly inverted by the presence of the real life horror of child prostitution.) Overall, a book one can get one's teeth into... and that would be tired over-used vampire pun number two.
Vampires Unlike Any Other!
Knuckle Supper by Drew Stepek is a vampire novel unlike any I have ever read! It is gritty, dirty, bloody, and thought provoking! There literally is so much going on in this novel, and it will entertain you until the end. I had to really digest this book before writing out my thoughts. Drew weaves an elaborate story, world, and unique characters with ease. Not to mention while entertaining you Drew digs deep into some really relevant social issues. However, the way he tells the bloody tale is genius. Touching on addiction, child prostitution and trafficking, the corruption of the church, abortion, and so much more. This is not only an entertaining read, but very intelligent! Stepek has harnessed his craft well. I felt very tied to the characters throughout reading, hurt for them, felt their pain. This is one will be sticking with me for some time, and have me ruminating on the social issues as well. Well done! I give Knuckle Supper a solid five arm bongs out of five filthy Knucklers!