A socially inept loner wakes up to find a dead stripper on his couch with no idea how she arrived there.
Pete Adler is a milquetoast. He’s the kind of guy you don’t notice left the room, easily forgotten, and who’s never asked to hang out after hours by co-workers.
Mary Wilson is Pete’s ex-girlfriend, who unceremoniously dumped him after a few dates. She’s the first person that Pete encounters after discovering the dead stripper.
Shane Watson is a hot-shot sales executive who tormented and humiliated Pete at work before getting fired.
Dead Stripper Storage is what the title suggests – a nihilistic grindhouse tale of manipulation, murder, and mutilation. With the author of DEPRAVED, THE KILLING KIND, and 68 KILL steering the wheel, expect a no-holds-barred ride into the darkest and most depraved pits of the human soul.
Dead Stripper Storage includes genital mutilation, necrophilia, and illegal use of a condiment. As I wrote in my Amazon review, you may never eat mayonnaise again. Beneath the repulsive behavior and acts of violence, Smith manages to create a sympathetic loser in Pete. I wanted to know how Pete escapes his impossible situation.
Of course, if Pete only had to deal with one dead stripper, he might succeed in finding a way out of this mess. However, the body count multiplies, and Pete realizes he’s a helpless pawn in a sociopath’s game with no idea what the rules are or how to play.
Dead Stripper Storage had a Quentin Tarantino vibe to it, particularly PULP FICTION and that film’s scenes where the two mob hitmen are trying to dispose of a body. It didn’t surprise me that Smith acknowledged Tarantino’s influence and that the title is inspired by a phrase in PULP FICTION.
My favorite scene is early in the story when Pete’s ex-girlfriend Mary is knocking at his door. Instead of hiding the dead stripper, he rearranges her body on the couch and covers her with a blanket, so she looks like she’s sleeping.
When Pete’s ex-girlfriend asks about the woman, he lies and says, “Look, can we take this to the kitchen? I don’t want to wake my friend. We had kind of a wild night, maybe drank a bit too much.”
Was it a pathetic attempt by Pete to make his ex-girlfriend jealous? Yes, but it rang true as something a desperate guy might do to hide the reality of his lonely existence.
And it’s something a talented writer like Smith might do to highlight the melancholy inherent in his flawed protagonist.