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NogDog said:
... do we need the sort of detail that might be in a textbook on thoracic surgery to describe how the knife penetrated the layers of skin and muscle, the sounds it made, etc., and then all the details of how the poison caused breakdowns in the circulatory system, and then a detailed description of what the victim looked and sounded like as heavy internal hemorrhaging occurred
Actually, yes, we might need such detail. I repeat, might. It depends upon what the author is trying to do with the scene, with the story. It's not necessarily just a matter of plot or moving the story along or adding detail or trying to gross out the reader, though it could be. A deft writer could include such details to create a certain tone, to build certain emotions within the reader. And sometimes, yes, a writer might even want the reader to feel revulsion.

I'm usually in the less-is-more crowd when it comes to literary violence, but I have seen it done well from time to time, though I might have wanted to stop reading for a short spell.
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