Embraces: Reviews FeoAmante.com

In the 90s, there was a successful series of erotic horror anthologies called HOT BLOOD, and these collections featured some of the hottest talent - new and established - on the horror scene. It seemed as though HOT BLOOD had run not only its course but the course of erotic horror in its wake. After all, how many synonyms for penis can there be? How many metaphors can be used to describe the act in flagrante delicto?

EMBRACES: DARK EROTICA, edited by Paula Guran (of DarkEcho fame) is a surprisingly fresh collection of erotic horror fiction, new takes on banal plots. And just as HOT BLOOD culled established along with up-and-coming talent, EMBRACES mixes the eclectic with the daring, presenting to us the best of the best.

Like Ms. Guran states in her intro, "If you're longing for more sizzling stories of sexy demon lovers, seductive vampires seething with oral metaphor, kinky succubi ready for nameless sins? . . . Well, forget it."

Indeed. This collection is bizarre, captivating. "Saturnalia" by David J. Schow is a shocker that pulls you in, landing a sucker-punch ending. "On the Dangers of Simultaneity" by Robert Devereaux is a small taste of what lies beneath this man's talent, and this story is as clever and funny as every other controversial piece this author has written. "First Love" by Jay Russell is wonderfully written; memorable and cogent. "Torpor" by Charlee Jacob is one story you won't soon forget. Graphic and gut- wrenching, it's full of surprises.

There are 16 more tales, each wonderfully written and wholly captivating, although the ones I named happened to be my favorites. There are no disappointments, which is almost unheard of in an anthology. EMBRACES: DARK EROTICA pulls no punches and never fails to deliver the goods. -- Monica O'Rourke


This harrowing ride through the darkest sexual terrain is the first major collection of erotic horror fiction since the demise of the venerable Hot Blood series. Editor Guran tapped the veins of erotic writers like M. Christian and Samuel Cross as well as today's hottest horror stars like Poppy Z. Brite, Nancy Holder, David J. Schow, Steve Rasnic Tem and John Shirley to create an anthology as varied as it is brilliant. --Thomas Roche


This is definitely the most packed volume of "dark erotica" that has been available within my memory. Guran has picked some of the finest writers working in the field today. Those being Poppy Z. Brite, Nancy Holder, John Shirley, David J. Schow, and Connie Wilkins to a group of newer writers like M. Christian, Julia Solis, Ian Grey, and Charlee Jacob.

"Creeps" by Steve Rasnic Tem is about the things that creep up on you in more ways than one. "Payback's a Bitch" by Thomas S. Roche features a punk rocker named Miranda Icepick and that sets the tone for the story. David J. Schow's "Saturnalia" features a porn star who sinks into a spiral of depravity in his last role. This volume is filled with the darkest of the dark and the wickedest of the wicked.

Paula Guran has done an outstanding job with this one and it deserves to be on everyone's best of the year list. Any story in it would also make the list as well. 5 Stars -- Barry Hunter.

embraces main

review index