In 1985, Peter Sotos was arrested. He was charged with obscenity for publishing a magazine and was later convicted for possession of child pornography. After his trial, he kept a low profile. He worked for a meat distribution company and struggled to pay down his legal bills. He underwent mandatory counseling. Then, in the late 1980s, he began writing a manuscript that, once published, would signal the mature arrival of one of the most disquieting and original voices in English literature. That manuscript was called Tool.
Opening with an excruciating set piece inspired by the crimes of Ian Brady, Tool unfolds through a sequence of vivid metafictional narratives that rain hard light on the blackest recesses of a Sadean abyss, limning a ferocious tableau vivant thronged with victims and whores and jaded cops, with grief-stricken mothers, writhing AIDS casualties, and abased gloryhole habitués. In one deeply resonant chapter, Sotos renders a coruscating account of his fateful arrest and interrogation.
Written in lean, exacting prose, Tool stands as a deftly structured, pornographically sifted psycho-literary inquest, a pneumatic masterpiece marked by preternatural acumen, stark verisimilitude, and implacable emotive gravity. Originally published by Jim Goad in the 1996 omnibus, Total Abuse, the text has since appeared in the Creation Books collection, Proxy. This is the first stand-alone edition. It is presented with a publisher’s introduction and a new closing essay by Peter Sotos.