Three young people, one mistakenly named, two self-named, have all experienced childhood trauma. As a result they feel abandoned, are haunted by horrific memories, or experience hyper-sensitivity due to early injuries. All three are extremely gifted: either with beauty, with inventiveness, or with imagination. All suffer from depression and tend towards self-harm, from milder forms of self-abuse through to suicide.
What I loved about this book was its uncompromising life-like messiness; things don’t go as planned, there are long periods in the doldrums, sex is sometimes not that great, something happens and suddenly one of the characters finds himself in a world he doesn’t understand: “he’d fallen out of the kind of story he knew and into a new one entirely”.
A Killer Harvest reprises The Hands of Orlac idea that body parts transplanted onto a new host will carry the evil intent of the donors – as donors in historic horror are most likely to come from the criminal classes. Cleave has wrapped this in the current pseudoscience of cellular memory. He has also updated the classic source of the harvested organs (criminals) by having some of his central police and medical characters in on a scheme to harvest organs for the greater good, by the summary execution of suspects.