Strip Away the Mystery!
When living an irreverent life, one must expect adventures. Not all of them will be as much fun or as PG-13 as a Pirates of the Caribbean movie. As a devotee of divine decadence, I have always believed that our regrets come from things we haven’t done as opposed to those we have. When I am an old lady, I’ve always intended to have no such regrets. I’ve made some choices everyone might not make, and have a host of life experience by which to judge the authenticity of certain kinds of irreverent literature. I’ve been a lingerie model/escort, taking my life in my hands by going on outcalls to show off my underwear to strangers. I’ve had an affair with a male dancer. I’ve had friends who stripped and performed in fetish shows. I’ve been a groupie. So when I say I know that making oneself the object of someone’s desire is dangerous, I can back that up with personal experience.
This experience has also led to a certain degree of impatience with stories described as “erotic”. It seems to me that inserting supposedly titillating material into a work seems to be a shortcut for some authors to make their story more interesting without having to focus on actually creating much story. I am not putting down either erotic literature, or straight-up porn. I’ll be reviewing such pieces from time to time, and I’m a fan. The problem arises when sex becomes gratuitous, or when the author clearly comes from a place of vanilla where “kinky” consists of moving beyond the missionary position. Romance has its place, as does sex. The point I guess I am making is that wherever your piece comes from it should be authentic.
This week’s book seems to do so. Skin, by Patricia Rosemoor, is listed as an erotic thriller. The author has this to say about Skin:
“IS HE THE MAN SHE THINKS HE IS, OR IS HE THE KILLER…
Lilith Mitchell finds her runaway sister dancing at a gentleman’s club. They barely reconnect when a killer kidnaps Hannah. Keeping his victims prisoner for days, he then hunts them in a forest preserve. Determined to save Hannah before it’s too late, Lilith takes Hannah’s place at the club to lure the killer into coming after her.
There she meets Michael Wyndham, documentary filmmaker whose current project SKIN is a psychological study of the dancers. Lilith connects with him and falls under his spell…but is Michael the man he seems to be, or is he the one terrorizing her?
In a world of deception, where everyone seems guilty, who can Lilith trust?”
Lilith, our heroine, is not a dancer herself, and in fact, comes across and something of a prude, despite her mental protestations to the contrary. Her sister, Hannah, is rather atypical of the dancers I have known, but it is not unheard of for a stripper to enjoy the power she has over men. However, Lilith’s conflict over wanting to rescue her sister and her disapproval of her lifestyle rings true. There are a suitable number of suspects for the murders, and while I suspected who it ultimately was, there wasn’t a dead giveaway. The story moves, and maintained my interest. The only complaint I might was the sex scene, which read a bit like something I might have written as a middle school virgin. However, since we get it from Lilith’s point of view, that’s probably appropriate.
All in all, I enjoyed Skin, and give it an Earthly rating.