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My Pet Serial Killer

3.58  ·  Rating details ·  147 ratings  ·  37 reviews
"A rowdy menagerie of the unexpected, this book will delight and disturb even the bravest of readers; all preconceptions of what to trust and what to fear are masterfully upended." —Alissa Nutting, author of Tampa

"Seidlinger takes the slasher-horror movie, snuff film, found footage, webcam porn, and serial killer docudrama, cuts them all to pieces, pulls out their internal
Paperback, 464 pages
Published August 14th 2018 by Cinestate (first published January 21st 2013)
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Average rating 3.58  · 
Rating details
 ·  147 ratings  ·  37 reviews

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Janie C.
Sep 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Sex, violence and titillation are the active counterparts of this novel. Underlying the visceral action is a psychological relationship involving an audience, the reader and the main players in this game of control. Master and pet vie for attention under guises of self-assurance, yet each is subject to bouts of dangerous insecurity. The author's writing style is edgy and semi-abstract, provoking the reader to contemplate the words and the mysteries they describe. The master and her pet serial ki ...more
Michael Seidlinger
Nov 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
Jun 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror, read_2019, own
"She winks at him. There's a killer on every corner, even if they don't know inside if they have what it takes. She'll show them how."

My Pet Serial Killer is unlike any novel I've read before. Flipping the script on the traditional method of storytelling, the book really throws the reader in at the deep end. Concentrate or capitulate.

Alternating between sequences of pure violence, pick-up schemes, study, and filmography, My Pet Serial Killer maintains a consistent rapid fire pace in which the r
Feb 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book in a single sitting at work. I thoroughly enjoy this book and I can honestly say I have never read anything like it. I love Claire and felt a very deep connection and I love the symbolism of the pet and the master. This book is fucked up and more people should read it because it is fucked but also beautiful and incredibly well-written. so go read it now shitheads 5 motherfucking stars. Now I need to go read everything else that Michael J. Seidlinger has written.
Sep 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Initially, the reader may wonder which is more twisted, master or pet? Master will accept nothing but a flawless killer, one that will be legend. She is very thorough, leaving no detail unaddressed. I was enthralled while wondering how long the current state of things could be maintained and anticipating how things might unravel. Would the pet lose his "fight?" This would certainly not be acceptable. The killer must have all of the natural qualities and be truly obedient to become the best at wh ...more
Robin Bonne
Dark, but better than I was expecting. Claire is a complex character, and I am still pondering all the symbolism.
Michael Hicks
Sep 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
In a crowded bar, you watch the patrons around you, sizing up a potential partner and the potential competition. You see something you like, a particular hair color or style, a smile, nice arms, nice legs, a nice chest, a pretty face or a handsome jawline. They catch you watching. Signals are exchanged, subtle but inviting. You make your move, your approach invited, expected, desired. There is, for at least a brief moment, and maybe longer if you're lucky, potential. You've been looking for cert ...more
This is the 2nd book I have read from the author, and a monster of a story. Dark, and innovative, it is not your ordinary serial killer story. Initially, the reader wonders who is the most twisted, master or pet? Master will accept nothing but a flawless killer, one that will be legend. She is very thorough, leaving no detail unaddressed. I was enthralled while wondering how long the current state of things could be maintained and anticipating how things might unravel. Would the pet lose his "fi ...more
Peter Tieryas
Nov 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Video Review added:

I reviewed this for HTMLGiant:

A brief segment from the review:
I’ve read a lot of serial killer books in the past two years, most trying to differentiate themselves by latching onto a more unusual gimmick. My Pet Serial Killer distinguishes itself with a unique foray into the world of mass murderers that’s best encapsulated by Claire’s proposition to the Gentlemen Killer: “I support you financially.
Kyle Muntz
Nov 02, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An emasculated serial killer; strange fetishes; a Mystery. Michael J Seidlinger has an obsession with the concept of filmic image, overlapping and becoming reality--where people are never people, but embodiments of an idea, of currents in society, produced by art. In this case, he focuses on the ambiguity of a filmed surface: a man's face, impassive; the silhouette of a Gentleman Killer, the perfect idea of violence. Dropping one star because I'm not interested in serial killers to begin with, s ...more
Harry Ramble
Nov 19, 2018 rated it did not like it
Books in this category -- lurid, button-pushing, sensationalist fiction -- are often all style and little substance. This book has no style either.
Mike Kleine
Nov 02, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quick fact: this is/was my first Michael J. Seidlinger book.

And a couple things: MY PET SERIAL KILLER is a lot LOT like a movie. And I was pleasantly surprised by how dark the book was. Truth be told though, I had some troubles (at first) really 'getting into' MY PET SERIAL KILLER. But then once it got my attention, I was hooked. I dunno, maybe I was just distracted by stuff in real life or maybe I was dreading starting a new book (which is very likely) but once I 'got into it,' it became someth
Edward Rathke
Dec 25, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
I generally don't like serial killer fiction for various reasons, but this is quite good for all the ways it isn't what you expect it to be.

Damn close to being five stars, but just one aspect held it back for me.

Full review at Word Riot.
May 20, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
Many people like getting scared by horror, because it’s easy and unreal. We can read those books and move on with our lives, knowing no monsters stalk outside. Books like this though, haunt us well after we finish the last page.
Claire is a forensics student with a morbid obsession about serial killers. She takes an emerging killer under her wing as her “pet.” Readers listen in equally morbid fascination as she calmly explains the process of training her killer, with the occasional interruption o
Cory Macdonald
Nov 20, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Claire lets us into her world, but only the bits she wants us to see. Just as she possess her Pet, she possesses the reader, and how the reader uncovers the mystery. As the book progresses we begin to see how Claire is telling us this story by her terms but like any narrative there is more to see than what is readily apparent. Her "project" begins to take a life of its own (the Pet, the Mystery, the Narrative, the Fiction) and she can no longer control every aspect of "her" world just as she can ...more
Jan 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book is really dark, but it is also really good. I've never been a huge one for serial killer books, but for some strange reason I don't think of this as one. Sure, that's the subject matter and all, but there's more to it than that. I can definitely say that Seidlinger's work appears to be getting more subtle. You see all the killing, but there's more there below the surface about interactions, lives, and all sorts of other things I may not even have picked up on. It is quite graphic in pa ...more
Lindsey Lang
Mar 04, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
maybe even 4.5. VERY interesting and unique book. a take on serial killers i've never seen. not too graphic either, only a couple of parts that might make some people cringe, the real chilling part is how much more disturbing the narrator is than the actual serial killer himself. i would have given it a 5 but i found myself rushing through some of the italicized chapters and not enjoying those quite as much as the rest of the story. (i know that it said you could skip those, but really who's goi ...more
Rand Burgess
Feb 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
'My Pet Serial Killer' A perfect cross of indulgent madness and buffet of gritty mystery. Michael J Seidlinger brings the reader in with literary torture-devices that have you turning the page with anticipation and a skipped heart beat. Step behind the behind the scenes and into the world of rainy paranoia where the killer might just be your own lack of comprehension. imagine the films 'The Cell', 'Waking Life', and 'We Need To Talk About Kevin' after Michael has melted them down and injected th ...more
Melanie Page
"No matter how much or how little torture is shown in a movie, for the victim, it has to be never-ending. Real time freezes and torture time is the new reality. Places in Michael J. Seidlinger’s novel My Pet Serial Killer froze in time--but not for the victim--for the killer. The novel opens with college student Claire attending parties and going to clubs to find the perfect person. She emphasizes she’s an “observer,” lest we forget, which makes her seem extra creepy; she’s looking for the perfe ...more
Marzi Margo
May 26, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: four-star, fiction
My Pet Serial Killer is one of the most effective transgressive novels I have ever read. Rather than relying upon the same tired gimmicks that authors before him have used to present a transgression of societal norms, Seidlinger works against those gimmicks to present a transgression of transgressive fiction itself. He strips away our established notions and expectations of the serial killer concept, showing us the painstaking vulnerability, passivity, and (especially) mystery that underlies all ...more
Dorie Van Dercreek
The idea of a sociopath controlling a serial killer yet essentially enabling the killer to proceed with his killings is an interesting concept. I love Michael J. seidlinger's writing (the laughter of strangers, the fun we've had, etc) and the abstract film directions in between chapters were neat but it kind of reminded me of a Christopher Pike or R.L Stine novel for teen girls. While the prose is great, it doesn't necessRily gel well. Though I'd definitely read this hard to find novel again for ...more
R.L. Bailey
Dec 17, 2018 rated it did not like it
I didn't like this at all. There is nothing here but violence. Violence can be used to say something, but this has nothing to say. An interesting premise, what if someone controls a serial killer; but what you end up with is two characters you loathe. There is nothing shocking here, anyone who has read Jack Ketchum or Brett Easton Ellis has read worse, but those authors made the violence hit you on a deeper level. This book is like a child cursing, there's no substance. The author has a way with ...more
Patrick Birkholtz
There is not much I can say about this book. There were sections that were not needed for the narrative and the narrative itself is not strong. If the second half of the book had been the actual book itself, I probably would have enjoyed this book more. With absolutely no characters to like in this novel, not to mention a number of editorial errors, I cannot recommend this novel. If you still want to read this novel, just read at your own risk. I can't believe I actually forced myself to finish ...more
Brian Goff
Aug 20, 2013 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Won this from the giveaways. Thank-you.
May 27, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was gruesome and also boring somehow. The author had a weird meandering style I could not take to.
Aug 08, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this book. It was odd to say the least, but quite entertaining.
Jo Quenell
Jan 27, 2019 rated it liked it
Pros: Michael Seidlinger can write, that's for sure. I loved the prose in this book. With Claire, Seidlinger created a character more cold and calculating than her serial killer pets. She's a villainous narrator who could likely make Patrick Bateman blush. And I may be wrong, but I feel like much of the themes in this novel are a critique on serial killer fandom culture, which I ultimately agreed with and dug.

There's also plenty of blood and guts for the extreme horror crowd.

That being said, th
Jess Hagemann
Apr 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was warned this book was long--perhaps "too long." It wasn't.

I can only imagine other readers called MY PET "too long" because they couldn't handle how dark it gets--and how uncomfortable you feel for continuing to read, unable to look away from words that shouldn't be saying what they do--though they continue unapologetically.

Everyone, in their heart of hearts, is a voyeur. Only the choice of subject matter differs. If you're intrigued by violent acts painted with blood, piss, and shit, you'l
I gave up on this a little after halfway through it. It was just so slow moving and absolutely tedious. The "vibe" was accomplished that I think the author was aiming for, but it just didn't have enough life to it (which may be fitting considering the subject matter, but does not make for a fun read). I personally didn't feel like it was worth reading another 200+ pages of this trek through the protagonist's (if you want to call her that) mindset and relationship to her "pet serial killer." I th ...more
Jan 06, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, horror, thriller
I don’t know what to make of this story. It is graphic. It is horror. It is a nightmare on so many levels. I may have to read something lovely to balance out this hate.
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MICHAEL J. SEIDLINGER is a Filipino American author of Runaways: A Writer's Dilemma (Future Tense Books, 2021) and other books. He has written for, among others, Wired, Buzzfeed, Thrillist, Goodreads, The Observer, Polygon, The Believer, and Publishers Weekly. He teaches at Portland State University and has led workshops at Catapult, Kettle Pond Writer's Conference, and Sarah Lawrence. You can fin ...more

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