To serial slayer Andrew Compton, murder is an art, "the most intimate art." After feigning his own death to escape from prison, Compton makes his way to the United States with the sole ambition of bringing his "art" to new heights. Tortured by his own perverse desires, and drawn to possess and destroy young boys, Compton inadvertently joins forces with Jay Byrne, a dissolute playboy who has pushed his "art" to limits even Compton hadn't previously imagined. Together, Compton and Byrne set their sights on an exquisite young Vietnamese-American runaway, Tran, whom they deem to be the perfect victim.
Swiftly moving from the grimy streets of London's Piccadilly Circus to the decadence of the New Orleans French Quarter, and punctuated by rants from radio talk show host Lush Rimbaud, a.k.a. Luke Ransom, Tran's ex-lover, who is dying of AIDS and who intends to wreak ultimate havoc before leaving this world, "Exquisite Corpse" unfolds into a labyrinth of murder and love. Ultimately all four characters converge on a singular bloody night after which their lives will be irrevocably changed -- or terminated.
Poppy Z. Brite dissects the landscape of torture and invites us into the mind of a killer. "Exquisite Corpse" confirms Brite as a writer who defies categorization. It is a novel for those who dare trespass where the sacred and profane become one.