If you're a ninny (or even vaguely resemble one), move along. This meaty, perverse, one-of-a-kind story would bring whimpers from mainstream minds. Beneath the nondescript cover and flashback-deluged first chapter, awaits a festering boil. The kind of boil that infects your bloodstream, swells into a knot under your skin, and throbs to be scratched. The journey is disturbing and brutal, but written with a kind of casualness to it. You know you should look away, but the itch is demanding. Soon you are studying it from all angles, digging at it with mom's kitchen cutlery, becoming jaded to it. But, even that is fleeting because it becomes inflamed, an angry red pus-fed thing. You know it's going to blow, but you don't know how far the shit will fly, how bad it will hurt, or how many new boils will bubble up in its place. This kind of simmering tension and unexpected horror--sweet mother, the biker bar scene--alone makes this a recommended read. And interlaced throughout the panic, is romance. Yep. Not one, but two romantic plots, playing out in parallel, destined to collide. The less-conventional of the two affairs features the villain, and Christ, the villain is a very very bad man/alien. I hate him with a severity that makes me want to be proven wrong in my judgement. But at the satisfying conclusion of this tale, you wonder if this malicious creature–with his monster-closet black eyes (says Smith)–is redeemable. In summary, I loved it. With the right measurements of horror, suspence, sensuality, and complexity, it slithered its way to the top of my favorite-books-ever list.