Who Made Stevie Crye?

Michael Bishop
Who Made Stevie Crye? Cover

Satire That Misses the Mark...


A novel written with the intent to lampoon the burgeoning horror genre of the 1970's and 1980's. In my opinion, despite Bishop's obvious talents as a writer, this somehow missed the mark.

The book started off pretty well but went off the rails in the second half. The denouement was especially strange and scattered. The intended-to-be-witty skewering of Stephen King was also a bit silly. As a reason for writing a novel, it comes off rather churlish. While Stephen King may not be the best writer to have ever graced the planet, I will always give him props for characterization and world-building. Few authors have the ability to drag their readers into their worlds and into the heads of their characters the way King does. Someone on another book site that I frequent said, "King makes worlds you can go live in for a while." I whole-heartedly agree with that statement. In the other two Bishop books I have read so far, (Brittle Innings and Transfigurations), Bishop also did an admirable job with both of those elements. However, in this book, he begins to build a very credible world and then proceeds to dismantle it with jaunty smirks and corny in-jokes. Having read a lot of King's work back in the day, I caught many, many references - and some of them were quite clever - but the underlying story is too muddled to work effectively as satire and not strong enough to stand alone as a horror novel.

Now, even though the book ended up not working for me, I would ordinarily give it 3.5 stars on the strength of Bishop's writing alone - but I had to knock half a star off for the eye-rolling final scene with the troop of monkeys; a painfully obvious *nudge, nudge - wink, wink* moment that just hurt me to read. Too bad because Michael Bishop really is a superb writer that truly deserves wider recognition.