January 30, 2014

Disturbingly Sexy…

No Esby Madeline Iva

Long live perversity! I’ve been snuggled up this January indulging myself with some really perverse and interesting books.  Feeling satisfied after devouring my pile, I wanted to share with you these disturbingly sexy reads.

Mary Burton – NO ESCAPE

Burton’s writing just keeps getting better.

Her books are generally disturbing – as any serial killer book should be. Mary loves/does nothing better than show you a helpless woman realize these are her last few seconds of life – and then she dies.  The mangled desperation abruptly cut off gets to me every. damn. time.

NO ESCAPE has a second layer of edge for me.  Burton paints a portrait of our hero–a Texas ranger–in very realistic colors–as a young shit in the past.  Flashbacks reveal how incredibly awful he was to his then-pregnant child-bride.

MaryWhile hero and heroine work together to process the tragic past, and catch the bad guys in the present, the heroe’s past callousness kind of echoes off the serial killing.  I found myself wondering if Mary was placing the violence men perpetuate towards women in a wide spectrum ranging from merely brutal to totally evil.

Which is not to say hero and heroine don’t have great chemistry when they meet up again.  He’s changed, but something about the edge to that relationship and the general creepiness of the serial killer stuff–a guy who buries women alive—made this suspense book more chilling for me than usual.

Creepier still (but in a good way you know,) is sitting next to Mary during a book event in December.  She looks like anybody’s perfect TV mom, and even brought delicious lemon cookies for everyone to try.  At the same time she described how a reader complained that her books had too much blood.  Well, Mary cackled, this latest book showed that reader.  Given that being buried alive is for me the most horrible method of death to contemplate (next to underwater spelunking) you can imagine how every hair on my neck was standing up on end.

Yet overall, the sexiness between hero and heroine was p-r-e-t-t-y hot, Mary. I have a feeling that if Mary Burton ever decided to write erotic romances, she’d kill it.

GarnetThe next mystery I enjoyed to the last drop was by author Denise Mina: GARNETHILL.

Not Garnett Hill the catalogue of bed linens, but an actual hill in the city of Glasgow, Scotland – home of my favorite accent in the world.

What’s disturbing about this book is that the main character’s inner frailty springs from being found in the cupboard by her family when she was little.  She was in a semi-catatonic state and with blood between her legs.  Clearly her father did something horrific to her – and later when grown she has a major breakdown that leaves her patching together spotty memories of past abuse during a rocky recovery.

But her disturbed family, led by her mother, has come around to the idea that  she made it all up.  They insist they don’t remember any such thing actually happening.   Along with this horror comes the murder of her boyfriend—and the suggestion (again from her family) that maybe she did it—maybe she’s crazy.

Nothing like the black fuzzy flocked cover to bring back those 70's flashbacks.
Nothing like the black fuzzy flocked cover to bring on those 70’s flashbacks.

Yet Maureen is a very sexy.  Though rather a hot mess, she’s also brash and clever, fast on her feet, and she finds herself one step ahead of the police in solving the murder.

Brimming with a kind of hard-knocks acceptance of the world, Maureen in all her rumpled n rowdy glory stands for all things Scottish and Glasgawegian.  Great book.

The sequel starts off with her shagging a guy, and I have to say I was not surprised.

Turning more towards disturbing sex and away from mystery entirely—I read a very twisted little book called TAMPA by Alissa Nutting.

Here we have Lolita in a contemporary setting with reversed roles.  The main character is a woman trolling for 14 year old boys.  She strikes gold when she lands a job as a middle school teacher.  Yet life is not easy for this attractive sociopath, and soon she is facing potential exposure.

This is the original cover--but I guess it went too far for some.
I have a feeling that this original cover was a little too vag positive for some, given the content of the book.

There is much about our culture that novel is satirizing.  From how we identify only women as objects to our ‘boys will be boys’ attitude, Nutting skewers the complacency of men when it comes to women and sex.

I found Nutting’s protagonist subversively appealing.  She is straightforwardly bad and makes no excuses.  She knows all too well how sexism in our society can cut both ways, working to render the exploitation of male children invisible, portraying any and all actions of hot n attractive women as harmless and insignificant.

A conscienceless murderer who knows she’s going to get away with it, Nutting’s anti-heroine leaves us with the feeling that not only her, but society is to blame.

Finally, for a taste of illicit longing there is MRS. POE by Lynn Cullen.  While I find it dis-satisfying to put down a historical book where all the characters are dead from tuberculosis within a decade of the main action, I’ll admit that this period account of forbidden love has a certain evocative charm.

Mrs PThe author Lynn Cullen knows just how to present that stream of obsessive behavior brought on by forbidden attraction.  She shows how the (fictional?) attraction between Poe and a well-known poet of the day, Frances Osgood builds and how their inner desires distort their view of the world around them. Virtue is muffled and clarity lost.  Smoldering uncertainty is the food for artistic inspiration–which when published becomes a rout for their exposure.

Poe and Osgood walk about 19th century New York city, ravenous with hope for their passion while mired in a hopeless situation.  If the forbidden love of adultery is the most unsatisfying of fruits, even so Cullen has found a way to seduce her readers into tasting it.

Have you sampled any disturbingly good reads of late? Hope you will share below in the comments section. (Especially if they are erotic romance.)  And please subscribe to our blog by pressing the follow button to your right.

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  • Post authorC. Margery Kempe

    Love Denise Mina — she is just as cool in person as her books seem. And a hoot.

    Reply to C. Margery Kempe
  • Post authorKemberlee

    Tampa is certainly very suggestive, isn’t it?!

    Reply to Kemberlee
    • Post authorMadeline Iva

      And it’s JUST a shirt cuff, you know? So funny the way our minds read things.

      Reply to Madeline Iva
  • Post authorElizabeth Shore

    I personally haven’t read any disturbingly sexy books lately, but you’ve just added to my tbr pile, Madeline. I read – and did a review – of Mrs. Poe. Loved it.

    Reply to Elizabeth Shore
    • Post authorMadeline Iva

      Yeah, I remember that. We’re all just hopping onto the Mrs. Poe pile, aren’t we? ;>

      Reply to Madeline Iva

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