Story Rating: 2.5 out of 5 paddles
Sting Factor (kink): 3 out of 5
This is a six-story anthology of dark erotica, and it pains me to say that, while it has every hallmark of being exactly the sort of erotica I should enjoy, I found it lacking.
Lawrence isn’t bad, exactly, but she does have a terrible habit of using redundant language, awkward metaphors, and she needs more commas between adjectives.
I can see her reaching for a liquid, flowing style, rich in metaphor, formal, and just a little old-fashioned. I very much enjoy that kind of writing when it is done well, but it is a high mark to hit and she didn’t quite make it there. I can also see that Lawrence has a lot of potential. She has a very dreamlike and surreal voice combined with a good feel for detail. I would be curious to read something by her in a different genre.
“Incident on Wardour Street” is a classic sort of weird tale, surreal and hallucinatory. The sense of time and place is well-evoked, but the beginning and end are mismatched, and I had no sense of cause and effect between the strange event at the beginning and where the story ended up.
“Malbranque” is a lyrical, creepy, and very pretty Bluebeard-esque fairy tale with some absolutely fantastic imagery, but, again, the parts don’t seem related – the fleeing princess and the vengeance visited upon her captor didn’t connect; if the link was there, I missed it or didn’t understand it. That didn’t stop me from enjoying it. It was ambitious, and I respect that.
“Deliverance” is a classic abandoned mansion ghost story with a sexy twist, and was good if not exceptional.