I saw the movie years ago and loved Christian Bale's performance of a yuppy serial killer, so I thought I'd pick up the book and have a read.
What a brilliant piece of work.
The character development is top-notch and while it can be, at times, a little wordy, the descriptions of settings and characters really does set the reader up well for the rest of the novel.
The book is narrated in first person, which makes reading it all the more unsettling, and goes to sometimes painstaking lengths to describe the complete outfit that every single character is wearing at the time.
For example: "Carruthers is wearing a silk double breasted pinstripe suit from Armani, an off-white shirt by Hermes and crocodile-skin shoes by Gucci."
This constant reference to brands and appearances, while cumbersome at first, really sets the scene for the culture in which the main characters exist.
It is far from subtle yet extremely effective.
The reader is given the impression that these people don't live in the 'real world,' that the normal rules don't apply to them, which sets the scene nicely for a bit of needless violence, torture and murder.
The book is far more graphic when it comes to the detail of what the protagonist, Patrick Bateman, does to his victims. Some of the scenes in this book you just can't show in a movie.
But aside from that, the first-person perspective allows the reader to track Bateman as he slowly loses it and becomes (more) criminally insane.
There is one scene near the end of the book when he is involved in a gunfight with police (while resplendent in his Versace suit) and during the middle of it, the narration switched from first-person to third for a few pages, which is quite effective in emphasising the protagonist's detachment from reality.
Oh, and without spoiling the end for anyone, the movie ending is Hollywood fluff. The book ending is a lot more satisfying for the reader who, amazingly, is still made to empathise with the character despite the fact that he is a cold-hearted, remorseless killer.