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Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite
The Vineyard Dregs by Anthony Carinhas is the story of Claus Berliner, a young man in 1938 Germany. After a house fire rips through too quickly to be extinguished, Claus' brother, Radulf, and a female companion who had accompanied him are killed in the inferno. Radulf had a secret that, as far as Claus could surmise, nobody knew about. But that wasn't entirely true. Claus understood his brother's fetish, erotophonophilia, otherwise known as lust murder. It isn't long before Claus himself finds that he too desires sexual gratification from violent intercourse that leads to death...and a deep spiral downward in the relinquishing of Claus' sanity is divulged in a first-person narrative.
This is the second novel I've read by Anthony Carinhas, who is proving to be immensely skilled in the art of writing his main characters in a stream of consciousness, allowing the reader access into the mind of a sociopath. Even more impressive, Carinhas is actually able to humanize Claus to the point where - and forgive me, but this is a rather embarrassing admission - I actually liked him. The descriptive elements are sublime, with prose such as "The sound of water from the fountain trickled as the lights beneath the surface tinted the streams like blood." The Vineyard Dregs provides the perfect platform for an excellent novel of horror and suspense, delivered in equal measure with dark humor and satire. I'd recommend this book to anyone who enjoys the likes of Bret Easton Ellis, Jeff Lindsay, and Poppy Z. Brite.