Poppy Z. Brite was a huge influence on me as a teenager back in the 90s. Once I realized I wanted to spend the rest of my life writing horror, her novels became shining examples of everything I wanted to achieve with my own prose. While other girls my age were reading Seventeen magazine and YA titles, I was devouring Poppy’s stories of vampires, gay men in haunted houses and necrophilia.
I turned out a bit odd, but I don’t blame her entirely. There had to be some sort of inborn element present to start things off. She was just the amazingly brilliant (and absolutely creepy) catalyst that set everything in motion. I wouldn’t have it any other way, either.
Over the last several years, Brite’s changed her focus from horror to restaurant-themed fiction, and the woman’s still after my heart. Next to vampires, ghosts and zombies, nothing captures my attention quite like food. Brite’s Liquor series, as I’ve stated before in my review of the first novel, is pure food-porn bliss. Her writing style hasn’t changed nearly as much as her choice of topics, and the stories are superb. Ricky and G-Man are every bit as lovable as Zach and Trevor or Steve and Ghost, and their stories are hilarious and heartwarming in that weird, warped Brite way.
Hurricane Katrina hit Brite and her world hard, and I didn’t think we’d be seeing any new Liquor novels for quite some time. While that may still be the case (Ricky and G-Man’s restaurant is fictionally located in a section of the city that was rather brutalized), her two related novellas The Value of X and D*U*C*K are available now as a softcover collection titled Second Line: Two Short Novels of Love and Cooking in New Orleans. These were originally available only as hard to find hardcovers, and while they’d been on my radar for quite some time any copies I managed to track down remained firmly out of my price range.
No longer. The collection has an MSRP of sixteen bucks, and is currently on sale at Amazon for $10.88. Very cool.