Flesh and Blood: Erotic Tales of Crime and Passion edited by Max Allan Collins and Jeff Gelb (2001)
This is the first in a series of three anthologies designed to follow Gelb's long-running Hot Blood series of anthologies dealing with erotic horror, this time with the theme of erotic noir. The editors have selected 17 original stories and one reprint from some of the best writers in the field, and what a line-up: Lawrence Block, Max Allan Collins, Loren D. Estleman, Michael Garrett, Jeff Gelb, Joe Gores, Ed Gorman, Vicki Hendricks, Edward D. Hoch, Stuart M. Kaminsky, Terrill Lankford, Wendi Lee, Dick Loche, Annette Meyers, Gary Phillips, Robert J. Randisi, Thomas M. Roche.and Donald E. Westlake (with the one reprint).
Make no mistake, some of these stories are pretty graphic, so this anthology is not for everyone, but I didn't find a clunker in the book. Standouts include Hoch's tale of murder at a sex club ("The Club of Masks") where the protagonist solves a murder but misses the obvious, and Ed Gorman's "Sailing to Atlantis", a Robert Payne story about a serial arsonist and the lifelong inner pain that pushed him over the edge. Vicki Hendricks' contribution ("Gators") places the "Biter Bit" theme squarely into an abusive marriage, and Annette Meyers' "You Don't Know Me" takes a teen-age affair to a murderous conclusion. In "Flowers for Bill O'Reilly" by editor Collins, the death of an acquaintance leads a PI to a nightmarish mansion and illegal experiments.
The 18 stories here run the gamut from hard realism to bitter fantasy. There a few happy endings and there is a lot of violence, sex, and despair. As I said, this one is not for everyone but I found it to be a great read and I'm sorry the series ended after just three outings.
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Having found the HOT BLOOD series pretty easy to put down, I don't remember if I picked this one up (and I'm sure I didn't read it yet if I did)...since Susie Bright's pioneering eclectic best-of erotica annual has been discontinued, the surviving all-approaches/inclinations best-of is also edited by a guy with his other extensions firmly planted in crime fiction, Maxim Jakubowski. Rule-breaking in common. Playing with the stronger passions.ReplyDelete
Somehow FLESH & BLOOD slipped under my radar. I'll be searching for a copy. Great lineup of writers!ReplyDelete