A few weeks later than expected, I finally got my hands on a much anticipated short story collection Serial Villain by local writer Sherwin Tija. It took a little longer since the book caught the attention of my editor, who got sucked into the dark, sexy, and mysterious world of the illustrated tales crafted by Tija and so, free from its captor, I quickly devoured the book in a day. The book launched last week at The Mainline Theatre, where Sherwin often hosts quirky events like The Strip Spelling Bee, Crowd Karaoke, and Spring Slow dances with his company Chat Perdu Productions.
Serial Villain is a small brick of a book playing with the (delicious) tropes of genres like film noir, spy tales, and police stories to name a few. In these pages, there are villains galore, at every turn it seems, in the shadows, in the mirror, and even in the past.
There is a blatant and unapologetic eroticism in these tales that packs a punch, literally in some cases. Toying with morality, desire, and the notorious plot twist, Tija crafts a literary experience that can be likened to that of watching a series of films located in a city; films that have you blushing and looking over your shoulder hoping no one sees what you are reading out of context, especially in the case of “The Trouble with Hitler”, one of my favorites of the tome.
Along with “The Trouble with Hitler”, some highlights include “The Nethers”, which delves in the otherworldly and would make for a kick ass television show. Then there is, “At Night All Cats are Grey”, which twists and turns with the unexpectedness of when villain meets villain and finally, “For Love or Money”, which considering my recent Archer marathon and recent James Bond education from friends over at The Cineclub: The Film Society, happened to be just the right spy treat replete with delightful references.
First in the Cinder Block Books series, Serial Villain is just what the doctor ordered to get your heart racing and your paranoia thriving.