Thursday, June 30, 2016

Take Me Like the World Ends at Midnight by Terrance Aldon Shaw

(2015: erotic story anthology)

From the back cover:

"They say forbidden fruit is always the sweetest. They never tell you how hard it can be to get. . .

"These stories are all about the thrill of the unexpected: a handsome stranger's touch in a dark theater; a night of forbidden passion with the most unlikely of mystery men; the sheer adrenaline rush of sudden contact; the silent promise of ecstasy. . ."

Overall review:

World is an excellent, thoughtful and genre-elevating anthology, whose works entertain with their character-centric, relatable circumstances and expert pacing -- worth owning, this.

Review, story by story:

1.)  "Her Dark Passage": Excellent, noir-atmospheric tale about a woman (Jessi) whose quiet life of forty years take a wild turn when a movie date goes seemingly awry. Shaw's writing, sometimes sexually explicit, maintains that necessary sense of mystery and danger -- more than a mere dark, carnal fantasy piece, this.

2.) "Saturday Nights in the Middle of Nowhere": A country singer, Suzan L'Amour, meets an A&R man (Stu Dragon) whose reach and talents go beyond the music business. Off-beat and fun work. 

3.) "The Sweet Guy Tells All": A "sweet guy", who gets stuck in the Friend Zone with women, tries to shatter end his pattern of  heartbreak.

4.) "Sleeping Dogs and Southern Comfort": Genre-twisty tale about a young woman (Nancy) whose cabin hang-out with friends takes on weird overtones when an unexpected coupling occurs.

5.) "Night Vision": An old, broke jazz DJ in a gentrified neighborhood is drawn further into club land via his soothing voice and a young woman's vacuous-minded inattention. Atmospheric, effective read.

6.) "Three Lies Before the River": Good, nonjudgmental piece about a sexually aggressive and successful businesswoman (Terri) whose juggling of men, past and present, brings her to a crossroads moment.

7.) "Mr. Friday's Midlife Crisis": The dates of an escort (Sami) and her only customer (Mr. Friday)  highlight this character-deep (for the genre) story, with its multi-POV* structure, character-appropriate issues and all-around excellent writing. This is one of my favorite works in this collection.

8.) "Summer of '69": Enjoyable, good coming-of-sexual-age story about a young man whose step-aunt opens up a new world for him, in many ways.

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