An embittered failed writer sets out to murder a more succesful one.
SHORT STORY REVIEW ANTHONY HOROWITZ THE MAN WHO KILLED DARREN SHAN 2010 Walker Books.
The title of this cheeky horror yarn for younger readers intrigued me, as Darren Shan is a very real living writer of horror stories, and one of my favourites.
In this story, from the More Bloody Horowitz collection (by the author of the Stormbringer series), a jealous author who spent eleven years writing his own vampire horror opus, finds that e cannot sell his manuscript because it is too explicitly graphic, and then discovers that Shan has written a successful series of books on the same theme. This is a reference to Shan’s successful twelve volume vampire series in which he gives his central character the same name as himself.
The jealous author comes up with a scheme to commit the perfect murder against Shan, and appears to succeed, but has he?
The story works for tapping into the experiences many young writers thinking of writing horror fall into, penning work of excessive gore, and finding that people find their work too focused on shock and horror to the expense of any other narrative devise.
Many popular writers also find themselves accused of plagiarism by less successful authors too, and this story plays wonderfully with that concern.
I’ve no doubt that Shan appreciates his role in this marvellous piece of hokum too. I wonder if he’ll return the favour and include Horowitz in some of his own stories in future.