Told in first-person confessional, Self-Murder is the tale of a young man who asks the question, “Do you dare to fall in love?” and responds by detailing an instance of attraction to a “breath-stealing” beauty which swiftly becomes an obsessive fixation, such that all else melts from his awareness, his sanity is stretched to its limits, and madness threatens to overtake him. Ever-shifting emotional extremes, unfulfilling sensual excess in the arms of random strangers in futile attempts to escape this one woman’s hold upon him, accelerating paranoia, and prolonged sleep deprivation combine to further erode the young man’s tenuous hold on rationality and propel him into a somnambulistic waking state where the distinction between what’s real and imagined blurs and he’s no longer able to be certain of how he’s behaving. Without being fully aware of it, he may be committing heinous crimes.
Falling in love isn’t dangerous for most people, but it is for the young man of Self-Murder.
“No sleep, no rest for the mind just makes the descent all the more quick. Self-Murder is the tale of a man who falls deeper and deeper into a haze of confusion, as his insomnia deprives him of sleep and he finds his only comfort in the excesses of life. As he pursues love, the strength of that emotion only spins his life out even more, and as he loses control of reality, he may do things he regrets. Self-Murder is a fascinating and excellent psychological thriller readers won't be able to put down.”--Midwest Book Review
“A phantasmagoria of unbridled lust, sexual obsession, and stealth madness, Robert Scott Leyse’s Self-Murder is a dazzling indictment of desire that brims with sensory imagery and moments of exquisite verbal beauty delivered by a narrative voice that is baroque but disturbing and more than a little reminiscent of Edgar Allan Poe.”--Gary Earl Ross, author of Blackbird Rising: A Novel of the American Spirit
“Robert Scott Leyse channels Baudelaire's Queen of Spades and Jack of Hearts, speaking darkly of dead loves, in this new book. He also reminds me of James Purdy's notorious eccentricity. There's plenty of middlebrow stuff if you want it. Self-Murder isn't that.”--Kris Saknussemm, author of Private Midnight
“After his first novel, Liaisons For Laughs, which took Sex and the City to new heights and depths, Robert Scott Leyse's second one, Self-Murder, explores broader, deeper, and darker territories. Leyse achieves a striking stylistic gallimaufry: Proustian memories underpinning thoughts, words, and deeds; obsession treated in a way which evokes Lolita without those irritating Nabokovian curlicues; romps that Henry Miller would have enjoyed; a finale that delivers a blow to the solar plexus.”--Barry Baldwin, Emeritus Professor of Classics, U. of Calgary, Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada
“Self-Murder is lush sensuality of language injected with menace. A vivid portrait of mental disintegration and an explosive picture-show. Hallucinations without substance-abuse. Overwrought nerves and insomnia are Self-Murder’s drugs of choice.”--George Fosty, ESPN featured author of Black Ice
“Here is a psychological struggle and sensual breakout where you best get a comfortable seat, grab the joy stick, and hang on. This is a delicious look at the mystery of self-psychoanalysis, sensual release, acceptance of gifts of the tallest order, or the lowest.”--Tom Sheehan, author of Epic Cures