Well, another WTF Friday is upon us, which means we once again turn the Ruins over to my dark half. As regular visitors will know, Foster Medina has a passion for messed up literary diversions - books that are bizarre, twisted, grotesque, and kinky - and he's only too happy to splatter them across the page.
Dangerous Urges by Konrad Hartmann is some really dark shit. I'm not just talking about a little edgy or teasingly taboo, but dangerously fucking perverse. This is a book that will challenge you, shock you, disgust you, and offend you. It will also intrigue you and - yes, let's be honest - arouse the hell out of you. You'll feel damned guilty for enjoying it, and will vehemently deny having done so in polite company, but the moment you're alone again you'll spread the covers, crack the spine, and hit it one more time.
The anthology wastes no time getting started, going straight for the jugular with Hunter's Tree, a disturbing story about troubled souls who pay to relive their fears. We're talking an abuse victim being chased through the woods by a man in a wolf's mask, complete with the very climax you're dreading - or, perhaps, desiring. Primal and raw, it works as well on a psychological level as a physical one.
Next up we have a necromantic slice of erotic sword and sorcery in Tomb Brides. The opening scenes of sexual sacrifice and undead resurrection are as erotic as they are terrifying, and the story just gets darker from there. I expected that to be my favorite, but then I waded into the shark-infested waters of All Consuming. Holy shit! There's so much I want to say about this one, but what you need to know is that is involves a lonely young woman, a fetish for shark-bitten carnage, an alcoholic lesbian lover, and the slow reveal of painful secrets. Powerful and perverse, it takes the concept of love bites to a whole other level.
Lot's Sin was a bit of a stumble for me, despite its blasphemous desecrations, but Frogger Says was a hell of a lot of fun. The story revolves around a childish young woman who carries on conversations with stuffed animals who secretly urge her on to dark, self-depreciating acts of sexual excess. It's darkly comic, but sadly tragic at the same time, with a violent threesome that isn't half as shocking as the tiny twist that infects the reader with Hannah's madness.
Probably the most straight forward tale in the anthology, Glad Rags is the story of Sheldon, a selfishly perverse young man who wants his lovers to be completely unresponsive. Yes, I know what you're thinking, and it absolutely goes there (and beyond), but not before exploring the potential of sleeping girlfriends and heroin-induced comas. The final story, Arena Breed, switches things up a bit, trading depravity for decadence, and passion for perversion, in an exciting tale of sexualized violence and violent sexuality.
Dangerous Urges holds absolutely nothing back, and never apologizes for its perversions. It is the very epitome of erotic horror, complete with the conflicting emotions the genre arouses, distinguished by a narrative flair that critics will suggest is wasted on the material . . . but which is absolutely fucking perfect.
Kindle Edition, 282 pages
Published October 25th 2016 by Fantastic Fiction Publishing Publishing