Review: Sinisterotica: A Collection of Erotic Horror
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Quite an eclectic mix of tales. Everything from the super steamy to the super strange. With so many stories of such a wide variety of heat levels and plots, I thought it best to approach each story individually rather than try to capture an overall sense. It took me a bit to get to each of the stories, but I am hoping the detailed review will be worth the extra effort. I am posting this particular review in two parts, as there are ALOT of stories to get to.
My Soul to Take (Stella Berkley): Dark, gritty and modern — not to mention, oh so naughty. The vibrant characters really jumped off the page, and despite the physical unusualness of the male lead character, the sex was smoking hot and really well written. This one was a winner and made it clear why the editor chose to open the anthology with this tale. Nothing like a story that gets you hot and freaks you out all at the same time. Sophie, a drug addict looking for her next fix runs into Balan and sells her soul for more of what he’s selling. 5 stars on this one. Hot and the visuals gave me the willies.
For The Love of Death (Deb Eskie): One of the shorter tales in the book, this one lost me just a little bit. After the strong active voice of the first tale, the passive narrative and lack of erotic punch of this one stuck out a bit to me. The ending had a nice twisted feel to it, but I would have liked a bit more mystery. It read predictable to me. 2.75 stars here – wasn’t enough horror or erotica for me and I didn’t really like being on the outside looking in.
The Real Girl (Robert S Tyler): While this story didn’t exactly get me hot and bothered, I enjoyed it all the same. I felt this story had a more “Twilight Zone” sort of feel than a terror thing–and I was always a huge fan of that show. The story of a porn peruser whose wish to experience a girl he finds online comes true — but perhaps not quite in the way he expects. 3.5 stars to this story – well written just not enough steam or “terror” for my liking. It’s erotic horror, afterall.
Yve Redeemed (Lila Shaw): I thought the story behind this one was just great. A new twist on the succubus theme. Combine this with a first person perspective, and I was sucked right in. I loved Yve’s personality — gotta love a strong female character, even if she is technically just a slave. Nicely written, hot sex without being completely over the top, and a dash of romance. What more can you ask for? 5 stars here. Just a great, entertaining short story.
Top of the Food Chain (Gustavo Bondoni): I was pleasantly surprised to get this far into the book before hitting a vampire tale. I had figured it a quite obvious theme for erotic horror? I mean who doesn’t think bites are sexy? Okay, so now you know it is a vampire tale, and I won’t spoil it further by delving any further into the meat of the well crafted plot than that. I will say that I just loved this tale. It had great erotic elements, disturbed and slightly angered me, and I felt satisfied at the ending. 5 stars here. Entertained, smooth read, good steam.
Daddy’s Little Feminist (Maxine Marsh): This story took me a bit to really get a feel for. At first it reads a bit like a public service announcement against porn. For an erotica story, maybe not the best idea to somewhat alienate your readership before the story even gets going. (Okay, my guilt might have a little something to do with being raised catholic) Once the story gets moving, I did find the plot to be interesting, but it never really sucked me in. This story had some BDSM elements, which I did like, but I didn’t like that the whole D/s thing was packaged as the evil — the horror. I mean, sure, there is a killer in the story, but we only find that out because we are told. We dont get to go on that ride with the characters. I’ll give this one 3 stars — some nice erotic scenes, but way too much moral lesson for my tastes.
Only Fools Rush In (Seeley Andrews): This one was an interesting story. The sex was rather run of the mill and nothing that got my juices flowing or anything like that, but the horror twist was a cute interpretation of the erotic horror theme. I read alot, so I knew where it was going long before we actually got there, but the story gets an E for effort. 3 stars — a bit predictable, but a well written story that checked all the right boxes.
The Shaman From The Deep (Christopher Heath): This story does get immediate points from me (a fan of the fantasy genre) for being a fantasy fable of sorts. Like the retelling of a story told before campfires for centuries, passed down from one generation to the next. That in itself set it apart from the other stories to this point. What started as excitement, turned to disappointment when I learned that despite the nice touches of horror in the story and the darkness of the fable, it was devoid of any real sex acts. I’m trying not to spoil plots — but the one sex act in the story was a total of two sentences long — if you blink, you will miss it. 3 stars for this one — some great elements, nice horror, but no erotica to be found here.
Some Bad Decisions (C.D. Reimer): I’m not a big fan of a passive narrative voice in a story, especially shorter length works, so this story didn’t pull me in like some of the others. Alot more uses of “was” and “were” then appeals to me as a reader, but rather than skip the story, I trudged ahead in the interest of a full review of the anthology. That being said, I did enjoy the uniqueness of the MC in this story. An albino prostitute — now that is interesting. Once the story got going, I found the plot interesting and the horror elements entertaining. Again, I didn’t really get any feel for the erotica — having sex in a story does not erotica make. 3.5 stars here — some strong horror elements, albeit somewhat predictable, but not enough erotica for my tastes.
Similar Interests (T.C. Clark): This story was intriguing, active voice and strong descriptions. While I didn’t “like” the MC — I was drawn into his experience and the story. Once again, however, the erotic elements were missing for me. The horror elements were good, and well written, but the sex was written like “they had sex and then” so there was no detail in the act, we are just told it happens. Not something I look for in erotica — soft romance, sure. The ending, for me, was predictable, and while I do consider it a horror story, despite the “tame” ending, it never hit on erotica for me. 3 stars – good story, no erotica.
The Rabbit’s Revenge (L.M. Doyle): For the first F/F story in the mix, I had high expectations for this story. While the writing was a combination of passive and active voice and there were some areas that tripped me up reading (some use of present tense wording in a past tense telling, and some overuse of adverbs, and a more tell vs show style), I did enjoy the plot and the overall story elements. The erotic part of the story was good, detailed and piqued my curiosity. The ending, however, had been foretold during the course of the story too well, so when the time came for the big climax – literally – the reader already knew what was going to happen, and it was just a matter of reading it through to make sure the story followed through on the promise it had been making throughout. 3.5 stars for this one. It gets points for originality in being a F/F story, while containing both erotica and horror. It loses some points for a passive telling and a forecasted conclusion. By the end, I was sorta feeling “get it over with, already”.
My Autoerotic Doom (Joshua Dobson): Let me start by saying that this particular story may have had the strongest starting sentence of the whole bunch. It’s too bad it is closely followed by the most inane list of sexual acts — over the top to my thinking and showing the writer’s obvious wide array of positional knowledge seemed to be the only benefit. The story could have done without it. It read like it had been added for shock value and cheapened the rest of the story for me. The writing style of this one can only be described as blunt and explicit. I did find the story, once I got past all that shock value language, quite entertaining and the Twilight Zone feel to the horror story really appealed to me. The erotica was titillating enough to keep me interested, though I do tend to like a bit less gutter talk. 4.5 stars because despite really enjoying the story, I didn’t care for the narrative voice or the main character.
Be My Valentine (Indy McDaniel): This story turned out to be another F/F story. I had some difficultly with early POV shifts, sometimes mid paragraph. That and some passive narrative, made it a bit tough to get into this story from the onset. I found myself scanning the tale versus reading it – the kiss of death for any story. I felt the author tried to hard in some of the dialog, and it came off forced. When the sex came, that too read forced and plastic. About the only thing I enjoyed a bit was the last few paragraphs, the ending perked me up a bit on the horror side of things. 2 stars. Overall, this one just wasn’t for me.
Cheating (Parisa Syrus): The story started out interesting, but it became obvious early that english was a second language for the author. As we got into things, I began to feel as if the story was more a diary entry than a fictional erotic or horror tale. The tense shifted about in a few places, making me reread some areas a few times to make sure I was still following the story. Underneath all this, there was an interesting sort of “going insane” feel to the tale as it went along. Sadly, that was fleeting. The ending did nothing for me, felt lackluster and incomplete. I’m not sure where the horror was or the erotica for that matter. 2 stars. I’m being generous because I kinda liked the “lunatic is in my head” bits.
MORE TO COME…