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The Least of My Scars

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  332 ratings  ·  65 reviews
You haven't heard of William Colton Hughes. Or, if you have, then you're not telling anybody. Not telling them anything, ever. He's not the serial killer on the news, in the textbooks. He's the one out there still punching his card, and a few other people's too. He is a nightmare come to life, waiting in his apartment for you to knock on his door. William Colton Hughes is ...more
Trade Paperback, 188 pages
Published October 31st 2013 by Broken River Books
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3.89  · 
Rating details
 ·  332 ratings  ·  65 reviews

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Kelby Losack
Dec 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Alone and slipping into paranoia. Obsessed with mannequin neighbors and family members, with a wet-dry vac, robot arms, and killing people delivered to his doorstep. This is William Colton Hughes, the serial killer who never leaves his apartment, and he's been waiting for you to come and knock on his door.

SGJ always grabs me, but this may be the most gripping voice he's ever tapped into. Billy is a darker, more complex, somehow strangely relatable type of serial killer than any other in literat
Justin Steele
Jan 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
One of the high notes of the latter days of 2013 was that the noir genre saw the birth of Broken River Books. Author J. David Osborne's Kickstarter-funded publishing project exploded onto the scene with five simultaneous releases, all featuring gorgeous Matthew Revert covers.

One of these releases is The Least of My Scars, one of the wildest, most twisted books I've had the pleasure of reading. Author Stephen Graham Jones is no stranger to the scene, and he is currently one of the most impressive
Edward Rathke
Dec 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
Not giving this a rating yet, because, like the best of Stephen's novels, I need another read. Some very interesting things happening on the surface here, but I got lost for a while. With most writers, I hold that as a fault, but with Stephen, it's usually because I was reading wrong, or not yet reading right. The best of his novels are deceptive this way. They're not difficult to read but they're difficult to figure out, and I think there may be another novel happening underneath what I thought ...more
Mar 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
Meet William Colton Hughes, serial killer. Holed up in a connected set of apartments, he’s got it made. Regularly supplied with all his necessities, he doesn’t even need to set foot outside. All that’s required of him in return is to answer the door and kill whoever comes knocking.

Aside from Hughes, there’s a mysterious woman with an agenda of her own, the occasional delivery people, a collection of corpses placed around his home (which he converses with, when the mood strikes), and a few others
David Keaton
Apr 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
Yeeeeeeeeeeeeesh. Well, this is about as close to the brainworms of a serial killer as you're gonna wanna get. The story is simple enough on the surface - a madman scurrying up and down and around the walls of his apartment building slash prison, waiting for oblivious victims to knock on his door (sent there by some fuzzy organized crime types), sometimes getting bored and ordering a pizza dude for dinner, sometimes talking to his ghost collection and/or appliances - but a plot does wiggle its w ...more
Steve Lowe
Nov 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: crime
I wonder if it was frightening to be around Stephen while he wrote this book. It had to be, as deeply into this disturbed character he gets. We go so far into the mind of William Colton Hughes, we begin to develop our own little ticks and phobias and paranoias as we read - touch three things and check the locks again before you turn the page, because shit, who knows what's coming next. And you won't. I didn't. Granted, I suck at seeing the ending coming, but still, when I got there, wow. What a ...more
Jun 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
I'm becoming a somewhat obsessive fan of the author's works. The Least of My Scars is the latest in my long list of acquisitions from his backlist and curiously enough, possibly my favorite.

Is it the world building? The character? The plot?


It is the clear-minded violence of the main character. Terrible things happen here, a kind of horror that digs a hook through the navel and tugs, reminding one of one's own mortality. In any other author's hands, it'd be a splatterpunk frenzy, wanton and al
Chris Rhatigan
Feb 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Smashes every serial killer trope with reckless abandon. This book is probably not for many readers--it has almost no plot and contains not a single likeable character. (It might only contain one character.) But it's terrifying and interesting and poetic.
Jan 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
This one is actually 3 3/4 stars.
It's truly scary. I'll start by saying that. I told a friend who had asked "imagine what the film 'Alien' might be like from the Alien's perspective." Jones show remarkable skill creating the warped perceptions of the narrator that I actually began to feel the "otherness" coming off the page. This book is not a safe read. And that's Jones' genius, here--truly transgressive literature should not feel safe.
The problem that keeps this from being a truly 4 star book
Piotr Szczęsny
Mar 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Made me sick, made me think, gave me nightmares, still glad I finished it, fantastic writing.
Pearce Hansen
Nov 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
What's not to like with Stephen Graham Jones? Fearless POVs, wicked imagination, pitch perfect voice. He seems to enjoy shuffling and reshuffling tropes like a tarot spread, discovering some startling new vistas in the process. It's plain that work is play to him -- but given his craftsmanship and prolificity, its also clear that his 'play' is all engrossing.

Fortunate, for we his readers.

The Least of My Scars is written in first person POV, from within the twisted psyche of a particularly nasty
Sarah Read
Jan 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Overall, I really enjoyed it. It is by far the weirdest, darkest thing I have read to date, and since I usually seek out the weird dark stuff, that is high praise. Five stars from me (that almost never happens, except--apparently--with SGJ's books).

*mild spoilers start*
One part that really stood out to me (and deeply disturbed me) as I read was when he reminisced about the girl who claimed to be pregnant to try and stop him, and he said something like "she wasn't--we both saw." I needed a strong
Aaron Singleton
Aug 14, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, thriller
This was the first novel-length work I read from this writer. I had read many of his shorter works, so I was a little familiar with him. The thing with SGJ is that he is a chameleon. The other thing is he does not self censor. If you are squeamish, this book is not for you. Oh, it is so not for you...

This is the story of a psychopathic murderer with many other personality disorders, told in first person from his pov no less. But there is so much more to this work than shock value. It is a tale t
Pedro Proença
Nov 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Sometimes, a book will make you feel in a certain way. Not exactly a nice way, but... a way.

Examples, for me, include "Murderland", by Garrett Cook, "Tampa", by Alissa Nutting and "Humanity is the Devil", by Jordan Krall. I can now add "The Least of My Scars" to this list.

William is a serial killer. He lives on an apartment paid for by a benefactor, interested in sending him victims, delivered like pizza. But maybe...not.

We can never be sure of what's real and what's not in this book. And that's
Karl Fischer
Jan 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: novel, crime, horror
You don't have a chance in hell. If you're here then it's already too late for you - William Colton Hughes is a spider among men and this apartment block is his web. No, I'm not speaking to you as a fictional character. This book is a nemesis, here for you and for our protagonists. Yes, Willy is also a spider lurking in wait for himself. His own head is a web and only tenuous rituals keep him safe from its strands.

This is a serial killer novel, but if you're expecting Dexter type sentiment, you
Boden Steiner
Dec 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
SGJ performs back alley surgery with sharp knives and no gloves. The Least of My Scars is the mind of a serial killer exposed in the reverse silouettes of spatter.

If I were a scientist of novel forensics or an author profiler, I'd want to trace every page back, onion-layer Jones' mind until I see it all perfect, know how to do it, how he does it, but let's be honest: to get that close would likely bring the profiler that much closer to William Colton Hughes--and that is a risky endeavor. The fra
Caleb Ross
Click below to watch my video review of The Least of My Scars



Feb 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: crime, horror
If anybody can write an entire novel about a mass murderer confined to a hotel room it's Stephen Graham Jones. Written in first person The Least Of My Scars is a twisted, confusing, and frightening trip through a psychopaths brain. A ticked off husband who seems to be the head of a shady criminal organization "feeds" our main protag unsuspecting vicitims inside his hotel room/prison, and lets just say, things get weird from there. If you're in the mood to be freaked out and a little disturbed, t ...more
Nov 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
The book had a sinister, creepy tone that I liked a lot. The progressively paranoid protagonist, whose viewpoint is used for the entirety of the book, was done well. I felt like I was pulled and tugged along by the words at just the right times to keep me interested throughout the book. I especially like the progression of the interactions between William and Mary, as they attempted to one-up each other. A creative serial killer story for those who like it dark.
Dec 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
If I know Stephen like I think I do, this novel was probably his psychotic response to having learned that Three's Company got cancelled. Consider yourself warned of its depravities and excellence.
Sep 25, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Whew. Glad that's over with.

This rating only reflects that I didn't like this book. That's not to say it fails on an artistic level. No, it does exactly what its author set out to do, which is to creep you out like no one else has and to make you sick with it. I strongly encourage horror fans to give this a try if they've got the stomach for a deep first person account of a psychopath and the labyrinthine sewer of his mind.

This is not sunny, congenial Dexter, and this is far beyond the placid l
Collin Henderson
Nov 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
"Don't let anybody ever tell you life's fair.
Not while I'm in it."

William Colton Hughes is a murderer who lives in an apartment building run by a crime boss. Said boss delivers wills victims right to his door. And one day he kills someone he calls Kid Hoodie, not knowing it'll set off a chain of events that'll lead to ruin.

This is basically American psycho if American psycho had a better editor. Jones voice is so strong and authoritative that even when he's describing thoroughly disturbing acts
Dino Parenti
Aug 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
(Original review appears in Pantheon Magazine at

What one realizes soon after starting Stephen Graham Jones’s The Least of My Scars, is that based solely on its subject matter and physical length, economy of execution must rule the day, or it won’t work.

Said length is a tight 183 pages. Said subject matter is murder and body disposal, with a little cannibalism thrown in to lighten the mood.

Our perpetrator is one William Colton Hughes, serial killer and
Dec 14, 2018 rated it liked it
A decent book. Interesting premise, great sneering voice that reminded me of Palahniuk at times, but the prose was a bit too 'stream-of-consciousness' for me to really get into. Having said that, my read was quite broken up during a busy couple of weeks and I kept finding time to read it.
Joshua Dancer
As much as I love the way Stephen Graham Jones constructs sentences, the plot for this book just seemed goofy to me. I would have preferred something more grounded and believable, with one or two fewer 'twists'.
Keith A
Mar 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
WOW. The writing is great, it drags you into the head of a psychopathic serial killer with OCD and cannibalistic tendencies and leaves you feeling morally twisted, disgusted and dirty. Excellent read.
W. P. Johnson
Sep 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Premise: a serial killer in his own apartment complex where his victims some to him. Kind of like Patrick Bateman's personal paradise. Or is it?

I almost NEVER give the 5 star review, but I just felt like this is one of those special novels that was more than 4. If I could I'd put it at 4 1/2, because I don't know if it would fall into the category of my favorite novels ever, but 4 alone just doesn't do it justice.

There's something so eerie, so strange, so... realistically terrifying in the narra
Apr 27, 2015 rated it liked it
A first-person narration told from a psychopath's POV. This one has more in common with McGrath's SPIDER than B.E.E.'s AMERICAN PSCYHO, I think. Stylistically, at least. SPIDER wasn't so much about a psychopath, but it was about madness and had a very methodical, procedural approach to it, and mostly takes place in claustrophobic or few spaces. Whereas AMERICAN PSYCHO was more streamlined and epic and "action" packed, THE LEAST OF MY SCARS gets into the minutia of this psycho's mind in great det ...more
Shelby Harper
Sep 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Just finished this book -- my first horror novel -- and my stomach is clenched and I've checked the locks five times and set the alarm and still I'm about to hide under my covers until the run rises. And I'm so friggin' glad to be out of the mind of a mass serial killer.

My entree into horror came because I read Jones' book LEDFEATHER, which was about Indians. I really liked his experimental style, so I randomly picked another one of his fifteen or so novels, and ended up with THE LEAST OF MY SC
Amanda Gowin
Aug 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Three times as much book here as there were words. Soooo much said in what was left out, and I just love that. When you don't get ALL the pieces, but enough that when you arrange them and step back you can make out the picture - and if the picture everyone sees is just a little different, all the better. I'm sure there could be four books about this dude, but i kind of like the shapes of the shadows as opposed to the lights being flipped on. Harris didn't have to write Hannibal Rising, I liked t ...more
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Stephen Graham Jones is the author of fifteen novels and six collections. He really likes werewolves and slashers. Favorite novels change daily, but Valis and Love Medicine and Lonesome Dove and It and The Things They Carried are all usually up there somewhere. Stephen lives in Boulder, Colorado. It's a big change from the West Texas he grew up in. He's married with a couple kids, and probably one ...more
“Don’t let anybody ever tell you life’s fair. Not as long as I’m in it.” 2 likes
“To really live is to waver at the edge of an open-eyed dream, so that everybody’s always jerking their head around, sure you’re there. And” 0 likes
More quotes…