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The Shards

Bret Easton Ellis

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Completed on 16 March 2023
ISBN : 9781800752450
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LA, 1981. Buckley College in heat. 17-year-old Bret is a senior at the exclusive Buckley prep school when a new student arrives with a mysterious past. Robert Mallory is bright, handsome, charismatic, and shielding a secret from Bret and his friends, even as he becomes a part of their tightly knit circle. Bret’s obsession with Mallory is equalled only by his increasingly unsettling preoccupation with The Trawler, a serial killer on the loose who seems to be drawing ever closer to Bret and his friends, taunting them with grotesque threats and horrific, sharply local acts of violence. Can he trust his friends – or his own mind – to make sense of the danger they appear to be in? Thwarted by the world and by his own innate desires, buffeted by unhealthy fixations, Bret spirals into paranoia and isolation as the relationship between The Trawler and Robert Mallory hurtles inexorably toward a collision. Gripping, sly, suspenseful, deeply haunting and often darkly funny, The Shards is a mesmerizing fusing of fact and fiction that brilliantly explores the emotional fabric of Bret’s life at 17 – sex and jealousy, obsession and murderous rage. 


How much do I love this book. I rarely write reviews but I felt compelled to this time. Having been a fan since Less Than Zero, his books are always an event, and this is stuffed full of all his usual things - drugs, hot bodies, serial killers and the feeling of dread he is the master of. Its a long book but I didn't want it to end. Its also genuinely chilling in parts. Great music selection (mostly) and as someone has said get the playlist on Spotify. Having grown up with Ghost Town as an anthem in a grey provincial UK town, I can't now listen to it without thinking of Matt Kellners poolhouse. I read this book on holiday in Indonesia so could indulge in Djuram clove cigarettes for that authentic LA 81 vibe.

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